New officers bring a breadth of experience, skills and diversity to their communities
NPCC Chair, Gavin Stephens, reflects on the boost more than 20,000 new officers bring to policing
It’s an incredible achievement to have recruited more than 46,000 new officers to policing and this is thanks to a truly collective effort from all of the officers, staff and volunteers who have played a part in making the ambition a reality.
We have new officers joining from a huge range of backgrounds, bringing a breadth of skills and experience to their forces, to communities and to policing as a whole. This undoubtedly brings change and a whole host of opportunities.
Rebuilding trust and confidence relies on delivering the policing service that communities expect and deserve. Many of these new officers are now completing their training and going out into their communities, connecting with local people and building the relationships that are so important to effective policing.
Crucially, our new officers are increasingly reflective of the communities they are serving, with women making up over 40 per cent and 11 per cent from ethnic minority groups.
A question often raised is about whether new officers place a burden on existing resources due to inexperience but I would argue this perspective needs turning around.
New officers may be new to policing but they have a whole host of experience and skills which must not be underestimated. We have officers from customer service roles, the military, the legal profession, finance and business to name but a few, and every single one has something unique to bring to policing.
At a time when policing is rightly under the microscope, our new recruits also offer a once in a generation opportunity to demonstrate to our communities that policing is changing for the better and upholds the highest possible standards.
While we ruthlessly root out those not fit to hold the office of constable, the huge majority of dedicated and experienced officers who remain in the service will help train and retain our new and aspiring officers. I believe policing should be welcoming to all who have taken the decision to serve, and I’m grateful to all colleagues that have stepped forward to help in the recruitment and training effort.
We’ve surpassed the target of 20,000 new officers but the work absolutely doesn’t stop here. A choice of different entry routes means that policing is still a really attractive vocation with many opportunities to specialise and progress. It is a great time to join and be part of the positive changes we are making.
Plus, it’s not just about officers. Police staff and volunteers have central roles in all aspects of policing from investigations to crime prevention, community engagement to safeguarding and so much more.
It’s been nearly thirty years since I joined policing and I still feel as proud to serve as I have from day one. Our new colleagues have exciting careers ahead of them and I thank each and every one for the commitment they’ve made to keeping their communities safe and feeling safe.