As Northumbria’s newest recruits prepare to take to the streets and get stuck into the world of neighbourhood policing, a number of trainees from the latest cohort have revealed what it actually takes to make it in the Force.
Made up of former salesmen, tradesmen, a radio DJ and a nanny, this diverse cohort is keen to spread the word that YOU may have what it takes to join Northumbria Police.
Starting on May 29, the 22-strong group were put through their paces for 81 days of intensive training at the Force’s former HQ in Ponteland, learning a whole host of skills all areas of policing.
One of the oldest members of the group, 37-year-old PC David Ritchie, believes it’s his life experience which set him apart from other candidates during the recruitment process.
He said: “It’s good to have some life experience.
“I don’t think I would have got into this without getting into management in my last job. I’ve wanted to do this for over 10 years but I didn’t think I had the confidence to get through the process.
“You never know what they are looking for, there are only eight people with degrees out of us and everyone else is from a different background.
“We have a 47-year-old and a 22-year-old. You don’t have to be a certain type of person – you can want to work with firearms or dogs, neighbourhood or horses.”
PC Abigail Tipton, 24, had always wanted to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather who spent all of his working life as a local bobby.
The former airport lounge host worked her way into the force during her final year of university where she spent nine months in North Shields with the NPT team before becoming a Special Constable two years ago.
Speaking about her training, she said: “It was challenging and they make you push yourself but it is really rewarding. You will surprise yourself. If you try something, you can do it. I thought there’s no way I could do an interview but once you learn how and follow the steps they give you, it’s OK.”
PC James Chambers used to work as an area manager in finance, and left his home in Norwich to relocate to Newcastle for his new role.
He said: “There’s diversity here.
“I would say that everyone has the right mentality towards it. They’ve picked strong-willed people and that’s important for this job.”
Former Special Constable, Jon-Paul Hewitt, 25, said he was attracted to the Force because of the opportunities for progression.
The 25-year-old from Northumberland said he loves the fact no two days are the same and advised people to just ‘give it a try.’
The recruits finished their basic training, graduating on August 17. A fresh cohort will begin their new 12-week adventure on August 20.