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Student officers shining during Covid-19 outbreak

Hundreds of our Student Officers are cutting their teeth as PCs during the Covid-19 outbreak and doing a fantastic job keeping the public safe.

We currently have more than 600 rookie officers helping in the fight against crime and the coronavirus, including some who hit the streets just weeks before the national “stay at home” order was issued.

None of them could possibly have imagined how their first few weeks and months as West Midlands Police officers would have panned out.

They are working on the front line responding to emergencies, patrolling communities as part of our neighbourhood teams, investigating crime, and safeguarding vulnerable people in Public Protection Units.

One of our Student Officers Irfan Shafiq is on the front line responding to 999 emergencies
One of our Student Officers, Irfan Shafiq, who's on the front line responding to 999 emergencies

Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said our Student Officers can be proud of the contribution they’re making in unprecedented times.

He said: “None of these students could possibly have envisaged how their policing careers have started. Not only are they helping fight crime and keeping the public safe, they are also on the front line of a health pandemic where the police are playing a key role.

“Every student officer is making a contribution. They aren’t limited in their powers, they are fully warranted officers, but of course an officer coming to the end of their two-year training clearly has more knowledge and understanding than someone at the start of their careers. 

“Those newest in service will be assigned to a seasoned officer but those with more experience may be on independent patrols or capable able of dealing with matters on their own. 

“However, it can be said all our officers are learning on the job right now: we are educating the public on new Covid-19 safety legislation so in that respect students have just as much experience as cops with 25 years under their belt!

“There are lots of examples from across the force of our Student Officers really stepping up to the plate during these testing times to keep the public safe. Well done to them all.”

Irfan Shafiq is one of those Student Officers.

He joined us last September and is now working with a Response Unit attending 999 calls for help in Birmingham.

Irfan's first arrest saw him detain a suspected rapist found hiding in a loft
Irfan's first arrest saw him detain a suspected rapist found hiding in a loft

His first arrest saw him detain a suspected sex offender and domestic abuser. Irfan and his tutor kicked open the front door to the house in Rubery and found the man hiding in the loft space; he was arrested on suspicion of rape and coercive control.

But another moment to stick in his head was simply holding the hand of a woman who’d been hit by a car while jogging. The 30-year-old comforted and reassured her alongside paramedics.

“The past few weeks have been surreal,” said Irfan who is born and bred in the West Midlands. “But there have been many uplifting moments, especially people approaching me and just saying ‘thanks’ for the work we’re doing.

“It’s been a steep learning curve but great experience. Interpreting new legislation that was so quickly introduced has been a challenge for everyone in policing. I’ve always believed the police should be approachable and a shoulder to cry on if needed – but the situation dictates we all need to keep our physical distance now. 

“I attended the home of one elderly lady who reported noises in her garden. I asked her to stay in another room while I investigated. 

“On the front line I guess we have a higher chance of picking up the virus; the last thing I wanted to do was potentially pass it to a vulnerable person. Better safe than sorry. She completely understood and was thankful for our help.”

Irfan, from Cradley Heath, previous ran his family taxi business but said it had always been a dream to work for the police.

He added: “I’ve always had an admiration for the police. I tried on two previous occasions to join; I didn’t make it but never gave up my dream. 

“I chose to join West Midlands Police as it’s where I was born and raised; I feel I have real connection to the community.

“I’m the first in our family to sign-up as an officer but I can honestly say I’ve met so many friendly and helpful people, both serving officers and students, that I can say my family has grown in the job!”

Our Student Officer programme is currently open for recruitment. 

Student Officers now study for two or three years on either the PC degree apprenticeship or the degree holder entry programme, working on the job in our frontline police teams while studying, in partnership with Staffordshire University.

Since April 2019, when the new student officer programme was launched, over 7,500 people have applied to join West Midlands Police as an officer. In total, the force has handled more than 39,000 applications for all roles over the past 12 months.

To learn more, visit:

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Find out how to join the force by visiting our dedicated jobs website.


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