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Gloucestershire Constabulary celebrates first squad of graduate police officers

Gloucestershire Constabulary's first squad of graduate police officers are walking the beat.

The group of 18 are the first to complete the Degree Holder Entry Programme from the University of South Wales (USW).

They were also the inaugural students to pass through the new Sabrina Training Centre in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, where they completed much of the training and classroom study for the course.

USW won the contract to provide specialist education to new police officers across four forces, including Gloucestershire, in 2019.

The Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) was launched in July 2020 and is available to those with a degree in any subject and involves classroom and work-based learning.

Ruth Frett, head of Gloucestershire Constabulary's learning and people development, said: "Their passion for policing has never wavered and their commitment to the core principles of policing remains high.

"I am proud of each and every one of them and have no doubt that they will make a difference to the communities of Gloucestershire whom we serve."

After finishing their classroom studies the students spent a minimum of ten weeks with the Tutor Assessment Unit and had further training on the beat to prove they were ready to handle real life scenarios.

Chief Constable Rod Hansen said: "The degree holder entry programme gives trainees a comprehensive grounding in all areas of policing but also an opportunity to focus on a specialist area like roads or response policing, investigation or intelligence.

"This prepares our new recruits in the best way possible to meet the many challenges of modern day policing and I have every confidence they will be magnificent in keeping our communities safe from harm."

Their achievement was celebrated last month at a graduation ceremony attended by Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson.

He came under fire last week for remaining unapologetic  about breaking his manifesto promise to put 300 more officers on the beat. Instead he has poured more resources into staffing and new IT systems, which he said is the right way to bring the force up to date following it being put into special measures by the policing inspectorate.

He said: "There are some who are concerned that the graduate programme might stop those who are not academically gifted from entering the police. But, as crime becomes more widespread and complex, policing methods must also keep pace and it is interesting to see the support we have received from the wider public.

"I hope these new officers are the first of many, and that they have long, successful and rewarding careers within the police".

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