Eighteen-year-old Sam Poole goes to Highbury College and lives at Eastney, Portsmouth. Follow him on Twitter @shjpoole
It’s not every day you have an opportunity to join a police unit on patrol around the city.
Last Saturday was a real eye-opener, allowing me to experience how the police operate during the night-time.
It all kicked off with a briefing at 9.30pm, which gave me an insight into what to expect.
It was a chilly evening, with fewer than average people taking advantage of the night life. But that didn’t mean it would be a quiet shift for the police.
I was observing a team that were patrolling in the centre of the city, covering the Guildhall area and Commercial Road.
It was such a rewarding opportunity to see another area of society and understanding what happens.
Officers spent time on foot until the early hours of the morning, with me being with them the majority of the time.
In such a limited patch covered by one unit, I recognised small things that could have a huge impact across society.
The three main areas I was introduced to were Portsmouth’s safe space, the CCTV operating room for the city and the main custody station which can hold up to 30 people.
The safe space area shows the public ways in which the police and NHS work together to provide safety for those out and about.
It was encouraging to see them combine in such a productive and valued way.
As for having an insight into the room that operates the CCTV across the city, it was fascinating to see a team that stare at monitors all year round to identify anti-social behaviour within our community.
There are more than 170 cameras across Portsea Island, which can be moved if necessary.
It was really interesting to see how such equipment can play a vital role in the way police operate.
To conclude my evening, I was given a tour around custody at the central police station, gaining an understanding about what happens to those who have allegedly committed a crime.
You may say that the above description is what you’d expect from the police force.
But I learned that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
From spending an evening with them, I understood that the police are heavily engaged with people’s welfare, supporting them as and when needed.
Also, Hampshire Constabulary operates under something known as ‘multi-agency’, where it works with other organisations to support society rather than just combating crime.