Home Secretary Priti Patel attended the passing out parade for 48 new Essex Police officers who have completed their initial training at force headquarters in Chelmsford

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They were welcomed to the Essex Police family at the COVID-Secure event by Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills, Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst and other chief officers and senior officers.

The event marks the successful completion of initial training with another cohort of new officers joining Essex Police. The publicity around this will provide visible reassurance to the people of Essex as officers join their new teams around the county and the event was live-streamed so family and friends could share the moment online.

The officers of ‘R’ intake started their training in June and have spent the past 20 weeks at Essex Police College training and preparing for their new lives as police constables protecting and serving Essex. Now they will be deployed to teams across the county to help keep our communities safe from harm.

After they pledged their commitment to serve Essex residents, Mr Harrington told them they were joining policing at a challenging time.

“At times of challenge, the public will look to our leaders and they will also look to you to help them and keep them safe. We are leading the response across greater Essex, working with partners to protect and serve Essex at a time when people, and especially the vulnerable, are anxious, unsure and sometimes scared.

That is why it has never been more important for policing and for you to think about the core principles of your role: help people, keep them safe and catch criminals.

“The people of Essex rely on us to do this. We, the police, with our partners in law enforcement are the people who have the duty and responsibility to catch these people and bring them to justice.

“And we do it well. We’ve seen a reduction in recorded crime over the last year, with 9,286 fewer offences recorded and, importantly, fewer victims of crime between September 2019 and September 2020, compared to the year before.”

Wishing our new officers well on their journey with Essex Police, Chief Constable Harrington told them: “Over the last year we’ve been attracting more people from diverse backgrounds. We are not there yet but this progress, and also your professionalism, will help us police with the consent of all our communities. We are committed to being an inclusive force, which welcomes people from the many diverse backgrounds and communities across Essex.”

PC Hannah Wix will be joining the team at Harlow. She joined us because one of our firearms officers had a chat with her after helping her father.

“I wanted to become a police officer because the officer who came and helped my father was really encouraging and, if it wasn’t for him, my father wouldn’t be here so I wanted to do that for someone else.”

Hannah says valuing difference is important. As a Type 1 diabetic, she says the force has supported her from Day One to make sure she’s fit for duty. But it’s also key to the way we police our county as it means we better reflect and understand the communities we serve.

“Every day you meet different people, they have different needs. Sometimes one person’s needs may differ and you have to adapt,” adds Hannah.

PC Abbie Hockley will join the Essex Police team on Canvey Island. She wanted to become a police officer because she enjoys helping people. “I’ve always worked with the public. It appealed to me so I thought I’d throw myself into it and see where I go.

“Essex Police is an extremely welcoming organisation to be a part of and I’d recommend anyone else to join. If you’re considering it, apply and see where it gets you,” she says.

And PC Dom Robertson will be policing the Colchester area. He says he grew up watching police TV shows and that made him want to join the police. “So I studied Public Services at college and I got the insight to join the police. I’m most excited to be a visible presence in Essex and to keep the people of Essex safe.”

Since the Home Secretary last visited the force in September 2019, the force has continued to grow with more essential police staff and officers. In fact, by March 2021 we will have grown by a further 151 officers; 135 from the police uplift programme and 16 from efficiencies we have made with the support of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. Since 2018, the force has grown by more than 500 officers and all of this helps us to keep our communities safe.

Essex Police is attracting more people from diverse backgrounds through our #FitTheBill We Value Difference campaign. Applications overall have increased, with 357 applications in the first four weeks of this year’s campaign, which began on 15 September. This is a big increase from the 273 applications received in the first four weeks of September 2019 at the start of last year’s force recruitment campaign.

In September 2020, applications from black, Asian and ethnic minority candidates leapt to 15% of the total – 54 compared with 19 in September 2019.

We are also attracting more women to our ranks. In September 2020, 33% of applications to join the force were from women.

All of them join the large number of people who come forward to join Essex Police at this exciting time. More people from all walks of life are applying to join Essex Police. Join a team that values difference. #FitTheBill