Twenty-five new recruit constables have taken their first steps in policing this week.

The new recruits were formally sworn in as police officers on Tuesday (29 June) at a low key attestation ceremony carefully adapted to meet Covid-safety measures, with family and friends of the new recruits experiencing the proud moments via Zoom.

Twelve of the new recruits have joined through the three year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship and thirteen have joined through the two-year Detective Constable Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP). The new officers will spend nine weeks training at the county police HQ in Lewes before joining dedicated coaching units in police stations countywide.

Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando said: “It is a real pleasure to welcome these new recruits to Sussex Police. I had the chance to introduce myself in my formal welcome earlier this week and it was wonderful to get to know some of the new people joining the Sussex Police family.

“Policing is a career like no other, full of challenge, enjoyment and incredible job satisfaction, and I am delighted that they have chosen to pursue this career with us.

“I’m confident that each of them will bring valuable insight, experience and skill to our teams and help us deliver on our priorities to protect communities, catch criminals and deliver an outstanding service.

“Our new recruits will now embark on a detailed training programme here at HQ before moving on to new teams across the county in September. Every part of our Service has had to adapt as we work within the restrictions of the pandemic, and training and recruitment is no different.  The resilience and innovation of our training teams has shone through as we have maintained our crucial training and development schemes under Covid requirements.”

In the last financial year, Sussex Police welcomed an additional 129 police constables to Sussex through the Government Uplift Campaign, and an additional 50 through the rise in the local council tax precept. During the financial year 2021/22 Sussex Police will grow by 117 Officers. This is made up of an increase of 121 funded by the Government’s Operation Uplift and an increase of 30 funded by the PCC’s precept increase. These increases are off-set by a reduction of 34 Officers which had been externally funded – resulting in a net overall increase of 117.

The recruitment plans for Sussex Police for 2021/22 will see the force recruit over 240 new officers – these will replace those officers who leave during this period – usually as a result of retirement – as well as achieving the net increase of 117 by March 2022. Officer turnover is monitored throughout the year and flexibility is built into recruitment plans to react to any changes in predictions.

PC Joseph Marimla Alvaro who lives in Chichester and was raised in the Philippines and Spain, is a former PCSO who decided to apply for a role as a police constable to take on new responsibilities and challenges.

He said: “It was actually another police officer who got me interested in a policing career. Before speaking with them, I had never considered pursuing this, but they encouraged me to think about it, which led to my career as a PCSO.

“I believe that I’m one of very few Filipino officers to join Sussex Police and I really want to bridge the gap between police and the Filipino community.”

Thirty-year-old Leanne Greest from Portslade joins the force after working for the prison service.

She explains: “In my time working for the Prison Service, I have watched the court process and worked closely with police custody staff. I’ve always admired the work they do, and now I’m keen to push myself, gain new skills and qualifications and continue my interest in the criminal justice system. The variety within policing particularly interests me and I am looking forward to a new, rewarding and challenge and career.”

Bryony Lewin-Playford, 28, from Horsham in West Sussex brings a wealth of relevant experience to the force.  Bryony has been a member of police staff for Sussex Police since 2017, working as a researcher and an ASB and hate-crime co-ordinator before she became a PCSO. 

With a degree in psychology and criminal behaviour, experience in volunteering with patients in a mental health institution and with juvenile offenders in a young offenders institution, Bryony hopes to continue work in helping others.

Bryony says: “I have chosen to become a police officer to help people who feel like they cannot help themselves and to make the public feel safe. I had a glimpse of this as a PCSO and I feel as a PC I’ll be able to help the public even more.

“After completing the Degree Holders Entry Programme, I hope to become a detective and rise to the ranks of sergeant and maybe even inspector one day.”

For 27-year-old Callum Bamford from Herstmonceux, it’s all about changing perceptions. The former vehicle technician says: “I’m really looking forward to the social rewards of policing.  I want to make a major impact in my local community and I want to work towards changing perceptions of policing. I also hope to progress to the rank of sergeant as soon as I’m able.”

Charlotte Clarke from Hampshire brings experience in a range of sectors to the role. The 33-year-old spent time working in Canada as a ski instructor before progressing a career in the NHS where she gained qualifications in HR, managing staff from junior doctors to consultants and working on high profile paediatric cases. She has also worked as a manager in a specialist veterinary hospital.

Charlotte explains: “After 10 years in the NHS, I felt I had achieved a lot but wanted to do more to help the public. Having the opportunity to transfer my knowledge and skills from the NHS into the veterinary world taught me so much, and now I’m about to start my second career as a police officer in the hope that one small action from me on any given day could help change someone’s life in a positive way.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “It was clear from meeting the 25 new officers in person today, that they have all joined the force for the right reasons. They are enthusiastic, forward-thinking and eager to make a positive difference to our communities.

“I’m pleased that they will soon be out patrolling our streets and keeping Sussex safer.

“I applaud the senior officers who have worked so hard over the last 16 months finding new ways to meet recruitment and training targets.

“More visible, proactive policing is what local residents want to see and we are delivering on that with even more boots on the ground. I look forward to seeing them in action very soon.”

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship is an entry route for non-graduates, allowing officers to work towards a degree in Professional Policing Practice. The entry route allows the officers to gain a thorough grounding in the skills and knowledge they need to meet the ever-evolving landscape of 21st Century crime.

The two-year Degree Holders Entry Programme allows degree holders (in any degree subject area) to gain a fully-funded Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice as part of their training.