Something we all want to do, however I’m talking in the context of driving and in the surveillance driving scenario. When I did my surveillance training last year with Pete Jenkins of ISS Training in my home town of Skipton I realised that I was at an advantage over everybody else on the course – I had local knowledge. I also believed that as I had been driving since an early age (started at age 10 in Landrovers and tractors) that I was a competent driver and when on the course we needed to make ground I was able to do it with relative ease.
Then I had to ask the question – what if I’m somewhere with no local knowledge? Are my surveillance driving skills good enough to make good progress off “home turf”. Pete as always was able to advise on a way to get better; contact Mark Kendrick at Bespoke Driver Training.
Mark has extensive experience in close protection and counter-surveillance, this coupled with his years as a police driving instructor makes him ideally placed to offer the Advanced Progressive Driving Course for Surveillance operators.
The course was thorough and great fun, which is always a bonus, particularly hairing round the hill loop at Millbrook proving ground – anybody remember the Aston Martin rolling in Casino Royale? That’s where it was filmed. The main part of the course was taught on the lanes and roads of Gloucestershire and I mean taught on the roads; classroom time was minimal which allows you to make the most of what is after all a hands-on course.
The main learning points for me however were just how good ABS is. Using the ABS track at Millbrook which consists of a cambered section of lanes that are constantly wet; I was amazed at the ability to be able to change lanes under full braking with ease and most importantly, under full control. Being an “older” driver I was also unaware of the changes in how to approach give-ways and roundabouts; aside from the obvious need to check position, mirrors and speed; I really struggled with the concept of not being in gear until I had full visibility of what was going on. Back in the day it was a requirement to be in gear on the approach, as Mark rightly pointed out “how can you know what gear to be in when you don’t know the dangers or obstacles in front of you”. A very valid point and one that has changed my whole driving style, though it took a lot of effort to overcome nearly 30 years of muscle memory.
Mark included the RoSPA ROADAR advanced driving qualification as part of the course at my request and I have to say I was amazed to achieve Silver standard in a few short days. As I point out to my traffic police friends when they rib me about only getting Silver, I did it in a week you have weeks of practice to achieve Gold.
Mark also teaches VIP protection and Chauffeur driving and I hope that when the time comes to renew my RoSPA qualification, I can combine it with one of these courses to enhance my driving skills.