Gloucestershire has welcomed its latest intake of new police recruits.

Twenty student officers have joined during the last five months with a similar number due to arrive in July.

It means the Constabulary is on course to meet its target of 150 more officers over the next three years.

 Joining the fight against coronavirus

The news was broken during the latest public webcast in which the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl put Coronavirus-related questions to the county’s Chief Constable Rod Hansen.

Mr. Surl, who campaigned for a fair share of the 20,000 new officers promised by the Government last year said, “This is very encouraging and it is to their great credit that the new recruits’ first role has been to join the fight against coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.

“None of them could have expected that and it would certainly not have been what they signed-up for. Though in the longer term each one of them will make a difference in helping to reduce crime and keep people safe and on behalf of the public of Gloucestershire, I thank them for that”.

The group will become the first to benefit from the Constabulary’s new training complex, the Sabrina Centre at Berkeley, which is due to open in the summer.  It also includes the Constabulary’s first batch of officers through the new Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) system.

A degree in professional policing practice

Chief Constable Rod Hansen said, “This new route into policing, introduced by the College of Policing in 2018, enables offices to receive practical on the job learning alongside academic theory and knowledge whilst earning a wage – meaning they are a police officer from Day one.

“We will work in partnership with the University of South Wales for the academic aspects of the course and on successful completion they will be awarded a degree in professional policing practice.

“The investment in a digital recruitment system has improved candidate experience and speeded-up processing times allowing us to deal with volume recruitment more efficiently”.

To hear the webcast in full, which also dealt with questions around crime levels during the pandemic, concerns around domestic abuse, PPE and enforcement of social distancing, click on image above