Sixteen new officers on the beat in Cambridgeshire as new tradition is marked at passing out parade
- Credit: Archant
Two McDonald’s workers, a bartender, lorry driver and Royal Air Force engineer are among Cambridgeshire’s latest police officer recruits.
The force's sixteen new officers were assigned collar numbers previously given to retired officers - and nine of these were handed over in person.
Taking inspiration from the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, the idea was thought up last year by assistant chief constable Dan Vajzovic before his move to the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).
Stories and postings for each officer were collated by police staff together with members of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO) at the passing out parade on February 3.
The recruits marched in front of family and friends before being inspected by Chief Constable Nick Dean as the force welcomed them to its ranks.
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Having successfully completed their training course, lasting 16 weeks, they will now be posted across Cambridgeshire to tackle crime and protect the public.
Speaking at the ceremony Mr Dean congratulated the graduates, telling them: "You have joined a fantastic police family.
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"Work hard, challenge yourself and become the best police officer you can be.
"You have all done tremendously well from when you first sent your applications to the constabulary.
"It is only right that holding such a privileged position as a warranted police officer brings with it accountability and responsibility, both on and off duty.
"Being a police officer is not just about holding a warrant card, it's about having a vocation. You can no longer walk on by - your job is to investigate and where appropriate, act.
"However, the rewards of entering policing are there - never lose sight of the varied, exciting, enjoyable and challenging career that you have just entered.
"You are now in a position to make a difference and my strong advice to you is to go and do exactly that."
Retired officer Vanessa Firn handed over her collar number (506) to new recruit Natasha Morgan.
Vanessa said: "I had my collar number for nearly 32 years. The idea of handing it over is brilliant; I feel a real affinity with Natasha and I'd like to stay in touch with her in case she ever needs any advice."
Natasha added that it was "a real privilege" to be given Vanessa's collar number and also to meet her in person today.
Michael Sampson passed on his collar number (2053) to new officer Toby Wilding.
Mr Sampson said: "I was only given this collar number when I was promoted, so I had to work really hard for it. It's emotional handing it over to someone new, but I'm glad it's going to a very credible young man."
Other retired officers handing over their collar numbers were Cheryl Heasman, the first woman on the Cambs, Norfolk and Suffolk regional crime squad, Timothy Stonebridge who worked in the tactical firearms unit providing protection to Prime Minister John Major, and Susan Stonebridge, who was handed a judge's commendation on her 50th birthday for her work on an arson investigation.
Mr Vajzovic said: "There is so much more to a police officer's collar number than people might think - for many of our officers their collar numbers represent not only who they are but their work throughout their career.
"To hand over that collar number to a new officer entirely must be a great feeling, but I'm sure there's also some emotion in doing so.
"Thank you to the first of our retired police officers who have taken this step in a new tradition for the force's passing out ceremonies.
"We look forward to this continuing for many more years to come and I'd like to thank those at NARPO for helping us make this idea a reality."
The force is continuing its search for new constables. Those who think they have what it takes are asked to apply at https://www.cambs.police.uk/apply/Jobs/Job-types/Types-of-police-jobs