Our lives have been very different over the past few weeks and months, especially for our brand-new police officer recruits. Never before have our trainers and student officers experienced anything like this and shared such an experience together, but today (22 May) is the day we send officers from Orange group out into the world of policing.
Now they're here, our recruits have a unique challenge ahead of them in the first weeks and months of their service – one which they would not have expected when they first filled in the application form to join Derbyshire Constabulary!
Almost all of this latest cohort have been a part of the police family for a while. They've held different positions in Derbyshire Constabulary, whether that's helping communities across the county as police community support officers, being the first person on the line in an emergency in our control room, supporting colleagues in IT services, or giving up their free time to volunteer as a police support volunteer.
All applied to become police officers long before these unprecedented times and the recruits have had to get used to new ways of working at the force’s training centre in a smaller class size to maintain social distancing.
This group was trained by Steve Jones and Constables Sarah Spencer and Jane Clemson-Blythe. Steve said: "The group started on Monday 2 March 2020, and on 6 April, as the force continued its work amid the coronavirus pandemic, they started a new streamlined programme to be able to support their colleagues early.
"Jane and Sarah started the group, I joined to work with Sarah and on completion of a different group's training, Jane came back to help us with the last two weeks. Obviously, it’s a very strange time for us all, but as a group they, like us trainers, have all adapted to the situation."
Welcoming the latest officers, Tony Wetton, Derbyshire Police Federation Chair, said: "On behalf of Derbyshire Police Federation I would like to congratulate each one of the officers in getting to this really important and exciting stage in their new career. To have negotiated the selection and recruitment process and complete their initial training in these strangest and most challenging of times is to their credit. They should be very proud of themselves – we share that pride and I am quite sure their families, friends and loved ones do so too.
"They have joined policing in unprecedented times, in the midst of a global health emergency the likes of which we haven’t seen before in our lifetimes and hopefully never will again. They will soon see that policing has a big part to play in supporting the NHS and saving countless lives, with their new colleagues working tirelessly to keep Derbyshire safe from all of the usual threats alongside the spread of Covid-19.
"I wish them every success and look forward to working with each one in the future. Maybe even shaking hands in safer times."
Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Recruitment is still continuing even in these difficult days which is good news for the force and our communities. There will be more officers, as we promised, on the streets and in our neighbourhoods to tackle the problems that matter to you.
“Congratulations to everyone joining us today. Many have worked here in some capacity before applying to become a police officer, which illustrates what a great place to work this is. I wish them success in their career and look forward to meeting them on the beat.”