New recruits who attended the official passing out parade of 65 officers have told of their pride at joining Bedfordshire Police.
Chief Constable Colette Paul commemorated the joining of the new recruits alongside their families and dignitaries including High Sheriff Colin Osborne, Vice Lord-Lieutenant Colin Mason and Police and Crime Commissioner, Olly Martins, on Thursday, August 28.
The officers, comprising 57 new recruits who finished their training last week and eight who finished training earlier in the year, are now making an immediate contribution to policing the streets of Bedfordshire.
Former Special Constable Natalie Fletcher, 25, brings many skills to the force – including a degree in criminology and experience gained as a project manager with Avon and Somerset Police. She is looking forward patrolling the north of the county.
Commenting on her training PC Fletcher said: “The first ten weeks were the toughest and now I’ve settled and made friends for life. Having training sergeants with recent operational experience has been really useful.”
PC Zach Kozlowski, a former Special Constable with the Metropolitan Police, described how he got plenty of support from the training sergeants who have a very “in depth knowledge of what they do”.
He added: “Bedfordshire is a friendly force where you are not just a collar number - everyone is so supportive. I am 100 per cent excited to go onto patrol section.”
Former Luton Borough Council CCTV worker PC Mohammed Arshad described how proud he was to put on a police uniform after succeeding in a highly competitive selection process. He will be serving in Luton - a community he has known well for 17 years.
The 34-year-old added: “I made it very clear in my reflective diary of just how proud I was to put on this uniform and to attest as a police officer. I didn’t have a great view of the police in my community growing up but I changed my perception when I started working with them. From the outside it looks quite easy, but being in the police made me realise how accountable the police are.
“I trained through Ramadan and I wasn’t eating from 2am until 5pm. My concentration was struggling but my sergeants were understanding and supported me throughout the training.”
The officers are the first to join the force since Chief Constable Colette Paul lifted a long running recruitment freeze. Her ambition with Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins is to be an ‘employer of choice’ and really reflect the communities the force serves.
Following a recruitment campaign entitled ‘If the Hat Fits’ more than 790 people applied for just 80 jobs – meaning the force was able to recruit exceedingly talented people and have a rich pool of talent in reserve.
More recruits are expected to start training this autumn.