A NEW batch of bobbies will be soon gracing the streets of Cumbria when they are sworn into the police as the first cohort on a new degree-holder entry programme.

Learning in a newly-built learning and development centre in Penrith, the 20 recruits all come from different backgrounds and some from established careers.

The course involves a two-year programme with academic modules, course work and exams.

This coincides with serving as a student training police officer, with active frontline duties within Cumbria Constabulary.

This group will add to the dozens of new recruits Cumbria police has had in the last year.

PC Jack Hart had wanted to be a police officer since he was a child and volunteered as a special constable while he lived in the south, but he made the decision to switch careers when he moved to Cumbria to be closer to his wife’s family.

“My wife wanted to come home," he said, "and I love it in Cumbria, so it was time to change.

"I’m really excited to be in the first cohort of recruits. I have always wanted to be a police officer but my career took me in another direction.

“I just thought 'why not give it a go' – and I would say the same to anyone who was thinking about a change.

“Everyone is so nice and it’s great to have so many people from different backgrounds coming together.

"I’ve always wanted to help others, which was why I became a special in the first place.”

Focusing on her first arrest is PC Emily Smith, who wanted a new challenge.

“I wanted to do something different, and have a new challenge," she said.

“It was important for me to be able to give something back to my community.

“It has only been a few days but it’s great – I’m really looking forward to being able to help keep my community safe while learning in these fantastic facilities.”

Pleased to welcome so many new recruits, Chief Inspector Matt Pearman looked back to his own training compared to how the latest cohort will be trained.

He said: “When I was training, we didn’t have this type of facility to train in – it was very different.

“It’s great to see the group working and adapting to the different ways in which they’re having to train. Thankfully the new building also offers us the space to follow social distancing."

Disappointed that the student officers are unable as yet to make use of the wide range of equipment they have at headquarters he added: “I take pride in our training and I’m looking forward to the group getting to their stations and doing a good job. It’s great when I get the feedback to tell me how well they’re doing.”