The Big Parade - Passing into the Real World
In the final weeks at PTS, law exams and anti-riot training is the focus. Even today the whole of the Hong Kong Police can switch into a para-military anti-riot mode at short notice.
This training was rather bizarre. We drilled as a platoon, except some of us had weapons and others pretended. This included making clicking noises to show we'd fired the guns. Farcical. We worked hard not to laugh, as an instructor lobbed a coke can shouting 'Bomb!'
If my memory serves me correct, four of the officers who started the course with me had left. One Chinese lady was gone in the first week when the rigours of PTS proved too much. Two expatriates fell on the Cantonese course, and a local officer was back-squadded. He had to repeat the law course.
In the last week, we rehearsed the passing out parade. We marched from morning to noon, had a short break and did the same in the afternoon. The first few days we had taped music. But once the band joined us things came together, as we put on an excellent show.
The night before the big parade we waited in the Mess for the announcement on our postings. I wanted somewhere in Kowloon, because I reckoned that where the action was. Having done a two-day attachment to the vice squad in Yaumati, I felt that was the place for me. Although, Mongkok would also do. Please don't send me to Marine.
The instructors played their usual mind game by keeping us waiting. After a delay, they arrived and made the announcements. I struck gold. Yaumati Division in Kowloon. Well happy!
Immediately after the Saturday parade, it's bags packed onto the trucks and off to Kowloon. A bunch of constables joined me for the same assignment. To add to my luck, I'm given a flat in the new New World Apartments on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront.
The norm was shabby accommodation in a police station. But things were changing, and I was amongst the first to benefit. My new home had a swimming pool, a gym plus Bar City was downstairs in the New World Centre.
Looking good. I was now an official lean, mean crime-fighter. Except, the truth was different. I actually knew nothing much.
I had a narrow understanding of the law, plus some police procedures. My limitations were self-evident. With no idea about the dynamics or complexities of the real policing, I was soon to be on a fast learning curve.
Yep, I'm about to be fostered on the officers of Yaumati Police Station. To me it's all exciting and new, for them I'm another young inspector who needs moulding into something useful before I falter.