Home Secretary Priti Patel meets trainee officers in Thames Valley Police training centre Sulhamstead
Home Secretary Priti Patel paid new police recruits a visit at a Thames Valley training centre in Sulhamstead.
The visit came after Thames Valley Police recorded an uptake in its female, black, Asian and minority ethnic recruits in the past 12 months.
The Home Secretary joined a class of aspiring officers during a lesson on interviewing suspects, accompanied by Thames Valley Police chief constable John Campbell.
As part of the National Police Uplift Programme, Thames Valley Police has been recruiting more members of minority groups into the force.
In the past 12 months it has recruited 12 per cent more women police officers compared to the previous three-year average.
This is 51.2 per cent of the 250 new recruits that have joined in the past 12 months, bringing the ratio of female police officers in the force to 35.7 per cent.
The number of black, Asian and minority ethnic – otherwise referred to as BAME – recruits has increased by seven per cent.
BAME officers now represent 13 per cent of all new police recruits in the past year, with the proportion of these minority groups in the Thames Valley being 15.4 per cent.
Chief constable John Campbell said: “A diverse workforce is an important part of our operational effectiveness and is an essential element in maintaining public trust in policing with all of our communities.
“Attracting people from a range of backgrounds brings knowledge, expertise and insight and helps us to build stronger relationships with the public, enabling us to serve and protect them more effectively.”
He added: “We acknowledge the difficult times experienced recently in the world of policing, but we remain encouraged by the fact that more women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are applying to join us, to enjoy a fantastic career and make a difference to their communities.”
Student police officer Josh Burgoyne, 19, said: “I want to help people and have a job which I can say I am proud of the work I do.
“Wanting to be a police officer is not something you wake up one day and decide to do, it is something that you have always had a passion for.”
For some older recruits, like student police officer Catherine Titcombe, 44, joining the police has been a long-held ambition, which she is now able to fulfil.
She said: “I started completing the application form to become a police officer over 20 years ago, and have started the process on several occasions since.
“Something stopped me from completing it in the past, but I finally found the courage to go through with the full process.”