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Wiltshire Police Federation

Wiltshire Police plan to take on 300 new officers

17 September 2019

Wiltshire Times

WILTSHIRE Police has been given the go-ahead to recruit a minimum of 300 new police officers over the next three years.

The move is part of the Government's pledge to put 20,000 new police bobbies on the beat.

Next Monday (September 23), the Force will open its first recruitment campaign in two years. The campaign will run for three weeks until Sunday, October 13.

The successful applicants will be the first student officers to take the new three-year policing degree apprenticeship. For those who already have a degree, there will be a two-year graduate diploma starting from June 2020.

The Force expects to train 100 police constables over the next 12 months and awaits the allocation of additional police officer numbers from the Government's national 'Be A Force For All' recruitment campaign, which could see this number increase over the next three years.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, the Force lead for recruitment, said: "Our next round of recruitment is in November where we've got some additional 40 police officers coming and then we have got in-takes in February and June next year.

"Every three or four months we will be having in-takes to give us around a 100 plus officers. They will be deployed across the county, predominantly into front line policing roles."

The Force is just about to release a cohort of 20 police officers from their initial 22-week training course at the Wiltshire Police headquarters in Devizes.

From Monday, October 14, ten of them will be stationed in Swindon, three in Trowbridge, two in Warminster, and one each in Amesbury, Chippenham, Devizes, Royal Wootton Bassett and Salisbury.

The cohort comprises mostly men and they are mostly white, but there are four women among them who are just about to finish their initial training before going out onto the streets.

The group includes their oldest member Millis Miller, 53, who started his career in IT, and then decided to become a police officer. He will start his first shift in Trowbridge.

"I had been working in IT for about 30 years and I was getting a bit fed up with that and felt like doing something a bit more active and a bit more community-focused.

"I started working as a special about 13 years ago and that gave me a bit of a taste for policing. The opportunity came to train as a regular and I thought I'd give it a go and I've got in and we started in May.

"I did have some knowledge previously as a special but not of all the processes, like interviewing. Hopefully, it has put me in a better position when I actually get out in about four weeks' time."

Mr Miller, who comes from the USA, moved to the UK when he was six and lived in Bedford. He went to university in London.

He also lived in Portugal for nine years, and then moved back to the UK to live in Wiltshire.

He said: "I think policing is something that helps society. It can mean the difference between life and death."

James Parsons, 19, from Quedgeley in Gloucestershire, is the cohort's youngest member. He will start his first shift at Gable Cross in Swindon.

He says the training course has been "brilliant fun" and is looking forward to getting out on the beat.  "We've had group tasks, and have been given a scenario, and asked to think about what's the right thing to do.  "I wanted to join because it's a brilliant job. It's a rewarding career. It's a job where you go to work and every day is different."

Rosie Riley, 22, from Wickwar in Gloucestershire, studied history at Exeter University. She decided to become a police officer in the first year of her degree course.

"While I was at university, a real passion grew inside me to help people who are the most vulnerable in our society.

"I did a lot of volunteering and interacted with the police a lot during that and it massively inspired me."

"I started this course on May 13. It has been really hard work and I have been out of my comfort zone for the majority of the time.

"I was quite lacking in confidence being only 22, that's why I found it so challenging, but it has also been so much fun."

During the course, she learned how to drive a custody van and police vehicles and learned out to use the lights and the sirens.

She would eventually like to work in the Force's Public Protection Department.

Peter Burden, a 31-year-old from the Philippines worked in IT in the financial services sector before deciding he wanted to become a police officer.

Peter, who will be stationed in Devizes, said he had always wanted to help people.

He came to the UK when he was three and grew up in East Sussex and then moved to Dorchester. He studied business and computing at the University of Bristol.

He said: "It sounds a bit cliched, but I have always wanted to help people. I like helping people, and that maybe comes from being from the Philippines."

Mr Burden, who suffers from dyslexia, was helped by a member of the Force's Positive Action group to make his application.

"Coming from the private sector, I really am surprised about much people really supported me. I was really surprised about how much of a family it is, they really want you to do well."

Wiltshire Police spokeswoman Liz Cook says the Force wants to recruit more officers from ethnic minority communities.

"We really want more people from ethnic minority backgrounds and more women to think of policing as a career."

"It's small numbers compared to white males, but there are more women coming forward."