Hertfordshire Police has welcomed 18 new recruits to the force after they spent lockdown in a classroom learning the skills needed to become police officers.
On Friday, July 10, the eight men and 10 women – including a former chef, care worker and engineers – were officially welcomed to the force's policing family by Chief Constable Charlie Hall.
The training included a mixture of classroom based and practical sessions, covering a range of topics including law and powers, personal safety and dealing with volatile situations, first aid and safeguarding vulnerable victims.
On-the-job training continues for many months until they are fit for independent patrol, with two PCs based in Dacorum, Broxbourne, East Herts, Hertsmere, St Albans, Three Rivers, Watford and Welwyn Hatfield, and one based in Stevenage and North Herts.
Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: "I am always happy and proud to meet our new police officers but I must say, this particular cohort has shown real grit and determination to continue with their studies at such an unprecedented time.
“While many of their friends and family were furloughed or working from home, they have been in the classroom, socially distanced from their tutors and classmates, enrolled in our vigorous 15-week training schedule, and I am very proud of each of them for making it through.
“Their graduation was different, too, with no family or friends invited to watch them parade, as we maintain COVID-safe arrangements, but I was delighted to welcome them to our policing family.”
Trainee PC Becca Duane, 29, sold her Liverpool hair salon business before relocating to Hertfordshire to realise her ambition of becoming a police officer.
She said: “We started our training as the country went into lockdown and it was an amazing experience.
"We couldn’t get as hands-on during the course because of coronavirus, we had to be more creative and improvise, but the training was better than I’d even imagined. It was brilliant.
"And everyone is like family not friends, it’s wonderful.”
Becca, who aims to work in child protection, is starting her first shifts with Watford’s Safer Neighbourhood Team and Intervention.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd said: “I would like to welcome these new officers to Hertfordshire Constabulary.
"They are embarking on a challenging career, but one which brings huge rewards, opportunities and makes a real difference to our community.
“For several years now, I have raised the council tax because residents have told me they want extra officers on the streets.
"Hertfordshire now has more frontline officers than a decade ago, and is on course to have its largest ever force.”
If you feel inspired to become a Hertfordshire police officer, visit hertspoliceofficer.co.uk.