Socially distanced student life
The latest group of student officers have begun life with West Midlands Police and are the first to start their police careers while observing social distancing.
The cohort of 28 students all arrived at Tally Ho on Thursday to start their three-year West Midlands Police training programme, in partnership with Staffordshire University.
Unlike their newest colleagues, who began life with West Midlands Police by taking part in online induction and training at the end of April, this group of students started off with a slightly a more traditional experience.
They began their regular nine weeks of initial training at Tally Ho with measures in place to ensure they will socially distance as much as possible. The students will experience a mixture of socially distanced classroom based and distance learning.
Nicola Price, Director of People and Organisation Development, said: “These are challenging times for everyone and to ensure that we can continue to recruit and welcome people into WMP we have had to find new ways of operating.
“We have seen the number of applications from people increase while we have been in lockdown, which is brilliant, but without changing our selection and training processes then we would have seen hundreds of people facing months of waiting around.
“Thankfully we have been successful in applying to become the first force to trial online assessment centres, nationally, so that has allowed us to continue at our regular pace. We currently have over 550 people going through those processes.
“Equally we saw a group of student officers start, last month, with all of their training being delivered online.
“We’ve evolved again and we are delighted to once again see our student officers begin life with us at our training base but in a safe, distanced way.”
The group is made up of 13 men and 15 women, with ages ranging from 19 to 35. Among the group are four WMP colleagues who previously worked as PCSOs, a staff investigator and a special constable. They will train for three years on the PC degree apprenticeship, graduating with a Bsc in Professional Policing Practice.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “Being a police officer is an incredibly rewarding and challenging career even when we are not facing a global pandemic and none of the student officers could have predicted that their careers with West Midlands Police would have begun like this.
“Our new officers will play a key role in making the West Midlands a safer place for us all.
“The current situation is forcing the recruitment process to change with more learning taking place online.
“These are extremely challenging times however, I know that they will step up to ensure that we are all kept safe and I wish them all the best of luck as they begin their new careers.
“I am pleased to see that more women are applying to join West Midlands Police, I have been clear that the force must look like the people that it serves.”
Since the student officer programme opened for recruitment, a year ago, 7,500 people have applied to join West Midlands Police, with recent weeks seeing a huge increase in applications. March saw record breaking numbers apply, with 240 people submitting their forms in just one week, compared to an average week of around 160 applications.
Last month we saw applications increasing from women, ending with half of all applications in a single week coming from female candidates – a huge milestone, as we have been seeking to attract more female recruits.
The overall number of people expected to join our ranks in 2020/21 stands at 1,026 officers – compared with just 188 new recruits, three years ago.
Visit our careers site to see more information about our student officer programme as well as other police careers, and to see whether you're eligible to apply.