September 2019: A message from Avon & Somerset PCC
Pioneering apprentice PCs
WITH the school holidays over, I’ve been reflecting on the exceptionally busy summer we’ve experienced. From the Extinction Rebellion protests that caused traffic mayhem in and around Bristol to wonderful events including Glastonbury, Pride and the Harbourside Festival, the police have worked really hard the last few months to keep our communities safe. I know officers will always go above and beyond to support such events and I want to say thank you to all those individuals and teams who have been involved for your hard work.
I’m sure you would have also heard about our new Prime Minister’s promise to recruit 20,000 more police officers to make our streets safer. This is a commitment that I very much welcome. We’ve had to deal with years of funding cuts and had to make £78 million worth of savings, all while protecting officer numbers wherever possible and dealing with increasingly more complex and serious crime.
If the Prime Minister keeps his promise, it will ease the pressure on officers and teams in our area as well as improving outcomes for victims. Local people often say to me that they want to see more officers in their villages, towns and cities and an increase in numbers would reassure our communities and keep our streets feeling safe.
Avon and Somerset Police is in a great position in terms of learning and development opportunities for new recruits, especially with the launch of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). Accredited by the College of Policing and launched this year, the PCDA is being rolled our across the country. Avon and Somerset Police is the first force in the South West to move its initial police learning to the PCDA, partnering with UWE to offer a rewarding learning experience to our new recruits as well as a starting salary of £20k. Apprentice officers will spend around three quarters of their time learning on the job and the rest studying or in the classroom, becoming familiar with the skills they need to do the job.
This is a great opportunity for individuals to pursue a varied and interesting role as part of the force, while gaining a qualification at the same time. Local people deserve the best officers on our streets to keep us safe and the new apprenticeship prepares, trains and supports officers to deal with the complex crimes they will face as part of their role. I also hope that the new training and the opportunity to gain a higher education qualification will encourage a wide range of people who might not have considered a career in policing to apply and make a difference to our communities.