Sussex Police has welcomed a diverse group of new officers.

The 99 police constables and detective constables were attested at a ceremony at East Sussex National Hotel on Wednesday 4 October.

The new recruits proclaimed their oath to King Charles III in front of distinguished guests including Chief Constable Jo Shiner and High Sheriff of East Sussex Richard Bickersteth.

Of the 99 people joining the force, 67 of those will be training to be police constables while the remaining 32 will be training to become detective constables.

This year, there has been a 15.2 per cent increase in officers identifying as black, Asian, or ethnically diverse, the highest the force has ever seen.

And female officers accounted for 51 per cent of the new recruits.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “I am incredibly proud to welcome 99 new officers into Sussex Police and I am looking forward to seeing how they embark on their new career and the positive impact they are going to make policing our communities.

“They will help us achieve our key priorities of protecting our communities and the wider public, catching criminals and delivering an outstanding service to victims and witnesses and the public.

“We are happy to be able to offer a variety of entry routes into policing here in Sussex. It provides more choice and flexibility for those wishing to make a positive difference in their communities.”

Among the new recruits is dad-of-one Ben Fisher, 30, from Newhaven, who will be joining the Initial Police Learning Development Programme (IPLDP+), a non-degree scheme now offered alongside other entry routes, providing a greater choice to aspiring police officers.

He said: “For the last four years I have worked in the contact centre at Sussex Police, both as a call taker dealing with emergency and non-emergency calls.

“Most recently I have been a controller. I have dealt with numerous incidents as you can imagine. I have gone from taking the initial emergency call to dispatching the units. I now wish to be on the frontline working from the other side and tackling crime and being there for those who need it most.

“My late father was also a Special Constable for Sussex Police many years ago, so I guess this is where my dream of becoming an officer came from.

Kevin Meredith, 45, from Brighton, is putting down his camera to embark on a new policing career. The self-employed photographer and web developer will be joining the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) route, which results in a degree while learning and earning.

Dad-of-one Kevin said: “I might be different as I imagine I am going to be a little older than the average starter.

“In January this year, I decided to make the big change and apply to be a police officer. I am a people person, so I really want a career where I can interact with people all the time whether that be colleagues or the public.”

Andrew Jenks, 39, from Bolney, said he is excited to be joining the Detective Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP), a career he has always aspired for.

The dad-of-two said: “When I went to university, I studied criminology and sociology and always intended to pursue a career in law enforcement and criminal justice. However, a job offer immediately following graduation led me to developing a career in the marketing and communications industry over the next ten years.

“Then, in 2015/16, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune illness that forced a career change. After my recovery I went on to set up my own wine retail business which I ran for four years. Following the sale of this, I worked as a marketing consultant but having had children and a different sense of perspective, I was eager to make them proud by following my original plan which motivated my application to join Sussex Police on the DHEP programme.”

Another new recruit who is changing career paths is Laura Hall, 29. She will also be joining DHEP.

She said: “For the past ten years, I have worked in graphic design. I’ve decided to make this switch as I am finding that as I get a bit older, office life just isn’t for me, and although I like routine, the same daily routine was becoming a struggle.

“I applied to Sussex Police on a bit of a whim after a few months of dissatisfaction with work. I remember scrolling through the careers page and then saw the DHEP application.

“I was holed up in my room with my laptop and just thought the classic ‘why not? I’ll put my name down and may not even hear anything back’. Then I remember talking to my boyfriend and starting with ‘I’ve done something’ before showing him the confirmation emails.

“I am excited for the variety and opportunity that comes with the role and I know that even with routine, every day will be a different day.

“I feel confident I’ve made the right choice for me.”

Grant Care, 29, from Lewes, is joining the Police Constable Degree Holder Entry Programme (PCDA).

He said: “I have worked in the contact centre since 2018, first as a call taker and then a controller. I really enjoyed this, but I could only sit in front of a computer for so long before taking action myself.

“I am looking forward to being able to help people more.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “The attestation is a significant event for any new recruit as they begin their policing career and make a solemn commitment to serve the public without fear or favour.

“Sussex Police’s most recent attestation sees new officers joining from a variety of backgrounds, with a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience gained from a multitude of careers. With more female officers and officers from Black, Asian and minority backgrounds joining Sussex Police, we continue to build a diverse police force – one that is truly representative of the communities it serves.”

We are still recruiting for more police officers to join us so if you are interested in pursuing a career in policing, please visit our career pages to find more information, where you’ll also be able to find a list of all our current vacancies – Careers – join us as an officer, staff member or volunteer | Sussex Police.