Few of us will forget where we were on the evening of 8 September, when news broke that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had died. But for one group of Derbyshire constables, who heard the news as they were swearing allegiance to the monarch in order to become fully fledged officers, it was a particularly moving experience.
In fact, the news broke just before the final officer of the group was about to step up to the lectern, making her the first officer for Derbyshire – and one of the first in the country – to make her oath to the new monarch, just moments after news of the Queen’s death.
The rehearsals for the attestation on the afternoon of Thursday 8 September took place with a lot of good-natured chat, reflecting how well the small group had bonded.
By the time the evening group shots were taken outside HQ just before the ceremony, news had filtered through the HM the Queen was ‘under medical supervision’ at Balmoral.
Friends and family of the new officers had started to assemble, to watch the group take their oath and receive their warrant cards.
The start of the attestation was delayed slightly, just in case there was a 6pm announcement from the palace, however nothing was forthcoming, so the evening went ahead as planned.
Just after 6.30pm, word was received that the death of HM the Queen had been formally announced and proceedings were paused for two minutes silence. On resuming, it became clear to the audience that there was only one more student officer to take their oath.
Olivia Adcock wanted to be a police officer from an early age, and after completing her A-levels she worked as a dental nurse while she was waiting for the PDCA course to start.
“Our thoughts were with the Queen as we gathered in reception, ready to march into the atrium. But we thought that as there was no announcement at 6pm that we would be ok to use the words of the oath we had all practiced.
“When Charlotte, the second to last went up, we became aware that something was happening, as Inspector John Tanner drew ACC James Abdy to one side.
“The news was a bit of a shock – but the two-minute silence gave me chance to gather my thoughts – and the wording was clear on the revised script.
“It was a proud evening for us all, we have no better example to follow as we start our careers than that of HM the Queen, she was the perfect role model of a public servant.”
Olivia is now based on Derby North and is looking forward to the challenges a busy team will bring.
When PCDA cohort 5 began their 24-week journey in March 2022, the finish line date of 8 September seemed a long way off. The group of 15 included several ex-PCSOs, a lifeguard, a former Royal Marine and a funeral director.
Paying tribute to the whole group, Jane Clemson-Blythe from the Core Policing Team said: “It was a pleasure to teach them all. I am impressed by their commitment and willingness to learn, and the teamwork and support they provided to each other and myself and Jim Peach as their trainers.
“They are an inspiration to us all for all their work ethic, and I am extremely proud of them and feel blessed that I had the opportunity to meet and teach this cohort.
“The attestation is always an emotional evening, a proud and happy event. But this one will be remembered by all, due to the sadness of the evening following the announcement part way through of the sad loss of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
“Special thanks to PC Charlotte Carpenter who was the last to attest to the Queen, and Olivia who was the first to attest after the announcement.”