Sussex Police welcomes 64 new trainee officers to the force
A further 64 recruit constables have taken their first steps in their policing careers this week. The new officers were formally sworn in at an attestation ceremony on Wednesday (17 June) evening – the first to be held in person since lockdown was eased.
The new PCs were personally welcomed by T/Chief Constable Jo Shiner and PCC Katy Bourne, while family and friends joined the proceedings from around the world via Zoom.
Amongst the recruits were the first 26 trainees on the force’s new Degree-Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) which is being run alongside the force’s Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) course for non-degree holders.
T/Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “I am very proud to welcome these new officers to the force. Attestation is such a significant ceremony, marking the start of a policing career, so it was fantastic that we were able to bring the recruit constables together for this event, through adapting to meet social distancing guidelines and by welcoming their families virtually.
“All 64 new officers will be joining their divisions in nine weeks to continue their training on the job in their new communities.
“I wish them all every luck in their new careers."
“It is through the innovation and hard work of our training team that our recruitment of police constables has remained fully on track throughout these challenging times - and I am delighted that we have been able to launch our first ever Degree-Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) this week.
“Providing this new training route, as well as our PC Degree Apprenticeship, is helping us meet the demands and complexities of modern policing.
“Funding from both the council tax precept and the Government’s police recruitment programme is ensuring we accelerate our plans to get new officers on the streets and improve diversity in policing.
“So I am pleased to say that, despite the challenges of lockdown, we are well on our way to achieving the expected Government-funded uplift of 129 officers by March 2021, with our next PC recruitment campaign launching on 20 July.
"The force’s recruitment of PCSOs and policing staff funded by the rise in council tax precept is still 100 per cent on track as well.”
PC Jo Hutchins was one of the new recruits attending the ceremony at the East Sussex National in Uckfield, following an extensive risk assessment and application of social distancing and hygiene measures.
“I feel so proud,” said PC Hutchins who has started on the DHEP this week. “It was fantastic to see all my new colleagues going up and collecting their warrant badges.”
“I joined up because I think it’s a great time to begin a policing career. There have been such positive changes in recent years and I want to be part of that.
“I worked in hospitality management previously and when we had to call the police, I found their handling of situations wholly positive, and it inspired me to become an officer. Joining age 40, I hope my maturity and experience will help me provide that same good service to the public.”
PC Jo Hutchins is looking forward to going on division in West Sussex in 9 weeks.
The DHEP is a two-year-programme that allows recruits to gain a fully-funded Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice while training on the job. Like the degree apprentices, the DHEP trainees are officers from day one on a full salary.
The two training programmes offer a choice of entry routes into becoming an officer, helping to ensure policing remains an attractive and competitive career choice, appealing to those who may not have previously considered policing as a career.
By revolutionising the training and standardising assessment and accreditation across the country, the programmes will provide our officers with a publicly recognised professional qualification, reflecting the skills and knowledge required to meet current and future challenges.
“I’ve come such a long way and today means so much to me, I’m overwhelmed,” says PC Leann Knowles, who is one of the 38 recruits who started the degree apprenticeship this week.
“It’s been so rewarding working as a PCSO for three years in Worthing. Now
I’m looking forward to being able to do even more to help people,” says the 35-year-old mum.
“Having grown up in care and had a difficult youth myself, I find I am able to connect and empathise well with wayward young people and help them move towards a more positive future.
“I left school at 15 with no qualifications, so becoming an officer and doing this degree apprenticeship is a massive achievement for me. I hope to inspire young people that no matter what people say, they can make it. Just go for it – and see where it takes you.”
If you are interested in joining us, you can register your interest here
Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “On Wednesday I saw 64 new police officers sworn into Sussex Police. Speaking to some of them after their ceremony, it was clear that they are enthusiastic, forward-thinking and eager to make a positive difference to our communities.
“I’m pleased that they will soon be out patrolling our streets and keeping Sussex safer.
“I applaud the senior officers who have worked so hard in this lockdown to find new ways to meet recruitment and training targets.
“I was also incredibly impressed at how they adapted the ceremony to adhere to social distancing and gave family and friends the opportunity to ‘zoom’ call into the proceedings and witness this very proud moment for themselves.
“More visible, proactive policing is what local residents want to see and we are delivering on that with these extra boots on the ground. I look forward to seeing them in action very soon.”
In response to the current challenging environment, Sussex Police's learning and development team have worked with the College of Policing to adapt training to meet social distancing guidelines, using online learning and video conferencing for much of the classroom-based learning. Trainees still come to Sussex Police HQ for practical elements of their programme like scenario training and personal safety training.
Great efforts were taken by both the force and the East Sussex National to meet safety guidelines