Film ID:
YFA 4626

OUTDOOR TRAINING OF POLICE CADETS

1962

Visitor Tabs

Description

This film documents a police cadet training course based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. The filmmaker documents all aspects of the course from their navigation hikes across Moorland, canoeing on the river, rock climbing, and many other activities that will help provide the young men with character building activities. The film also features interesting footages of the lost village of West End, which was submerged when the newly built Thruscross reservoir flooded its valleys in the 1960s.

The film opens with shots of busy streets in Ilkley. A police bus drives through the streets and, according to the voiceover, carries cadets to the police training site where they will become officers. The bus drives to the outskirts of Ilkley, where the cadets will be staying at a hostel under the watch of an instructor. Shots show the bus arriving outside the hostel and the cadets disembark. Cadets sit and stand around in front of the instructor, who takes roll call. Kit is then issued to the cadets outside the hostel, and the instructor calls out the item as he hands it to the cadet, who packs it away.

The voiceover then states that each cadet will take part in fire drills so they will understand the proper safety precautions. Shots show cadets abseiling from a third storey window. The cadets then tackle an assault course; the cadets run along a stretch of grass, before scaling a small rock face; the cadets work in groups, assisting each other. They then pull themselves across a length of rope suspended above the ground and run across the finish line where the instructor clicks his stop watch.

The next sequence shows a camping expedition; they are first shown the proper way to assemble the tent, before having a go at it themselves. The instructor shows the cadets the cooking equipment for camping, and the cadets sit on top of a hill and practice using it. On a plateau high above Ilkley, the cadets are then taught how to navigate using a compass.

The voiceover states that at seven o’clock (each morning) the boys take part in physical training exercises. Shots capture the boys jogging away from the hostel, before doing calisthenics on a hilltop. There are then exerts from a volleyball match. Household chores are then shown; one cadet sweeps, while others stand to attention by their freshly made beds. Another exercise takes place where the cadets are taken five miles away from the hostel and must make their way back using only the map and compass. Shots capture the cadets attempting this challenge; walking along country paths, along river banks, across stepping stones - all the while using the map.

Canoeing is the next sequence; the cadets paddle down a river, and shots show the boys entering the canoes. The boys then practice manoeuvring the canoes with the instructor first showing them how to do it.  One boy attempts a turn and flips his canoe over.

Another navigation challenge gets underway with the cadets hiking across the moors. The voiceover states the boys have been set a challenged to find out as much as they can about the village of West End. The challenge has a twist however, as the village is currently deserted due to construction of a reservoir which will soon flood the valley where it. The boys come across a church in the village, and find no one to ask about the town.  There are then shots of then trekking across bridges, along footpaths and using their compasses to find the phantom town. There are then shots of the deserted West End village, with empty and damaged buildings.  The boys walk along a road and return to the hostel.

A shot shows a cadet taking a shower, while others work in the kitchen. The cadets then sit down together and eat their meals. In a rec room, one boy plays guitar and the rest of the troop sing along. The evening lectures then take place; the filmmaker capture a lecture by Walter Flesher, a well know broadcaster, who holds a case full of butterflies. Shot shows the boys sitting in rows listening as the lecturer discusses natural history.

Mountaineering is the next portion; local climbers show the cadets how to tie strong knots, before several shots show the boys scaling steep rock faces, with Ilkley visible in the background. A cadet is tied securely into a stretcher and the following sequence shows the cadets lowering him down the rock face using ropes.

The next challenge is a four day hike across the Yorkshire dales. The initial shot shows the camping equipment being checked and packed away by the cadets. A cadet is then looks at a map, planning his team’s route. The group then clamber into the back of a van and are driven to the location. At the designated start point, they exit the vehicle, laden down with equipment. Shots then capture the boys as they walk down country lanes and through rural towns. The boys also have to get personal information from strangers, which will help them in later police work.

In a small rural town, two cadets stop and question an elderly man wearing a trilby. They take down his details eagerly before moving on. The boys then sketch a church and cross a bridge over a small waterfall. The boys traverse the oblique landscape at Ribbelhead. They meet up with other cadets who have pitched a yellow tent. The arriving cadets pitch their own ten and cook up some food using the camping cooker. Sausage and beans are on the menu, and after they finished eating, they climb into their sleeping bags and bed down for the night.

Heavy rain occurs during the night, and a small stream becomes a torrent of water, which the cadets wash in. They set off and there are close ups of fingers running across a map. The cadets continue to hike across the moorland and eventually reach the final destination, where they climb a fence and wait to be picked up. The voiceover states that they have travelled approximately 60 miles during the four day expedition. The van arrives and picks them up.

Shots then show the cadets back at the hostel - reading and talking on the grass. The voiceover states that before the course is over, a conference is held where the cadets can share their experience and new found knowledge from the four day hike, and a shot shows an instructor leading the discussion.

The filmmaker follows the bus as it carries the cadets home, with the filmmaker remarking that it will not be long until they boys swap their cadet outfits for police ones, and the final shot shows a policeman walking along the side of the road.

Title – Photography – Rex Matthews. Sound – Morris Smith.

Title – Commentary by… J.P. Little.

Title – The end.