Meet Cambridgeshire Police's newest recruits hitting Peterborough's streets
What do a DJ, an astronomer, a scout leader, a keep-fit fanatic and a footballer with a Cambridge law degree have in common?
They are all in the force's first Police Now intake. The graduates have completed a summer training academy and ‘passed out’ on Friday (September 15) at a ceremony at force HQ in front of proud family and friends.
The four women and four men, with an average age of 23, are the constabulary's first Police Now intake. The two-year programme will see the graduates working as dedicated neighbourhood police officers: two from Thorpe Wood, Wisbech, and Parkside and single graduates from Histon and Huntingdon.
They will be encouraged to showcase their problem solving skills and leadership potential, while making a difference in the most challenging communities across the county.
The Police Now mission is to "transform communities, reduce crime and increase the public's confidence in policing, by recruiting the developing outstanding and diverse individuals to be leaders in society and on the policing frontline."
It is not a fast-track, promotion scheme but a first step towards a policing career for graduates. On completion of the two years, the recruits can continue in their neighbourhood role, transition to another officer role or move beyond policing.
In Cambridgeshire the scheme is being led by Detective Inspector Kate Anderson, supported by Sergeant Caroline Scully.
DI Anderson said: “Police Now graduates will be tasked to work in local neighbourhoods, engaging with people and understanding what is important to them.
“They represent a real investment in community problem-solving and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to working with partners to tackle the underlying causes of criminality.
“Our students are bringing with them a wealth of experience, from academic criminology degrees, to working with the third sector, all of which will help them craft innovative strategies to support our most deprived communities.”
Meet your local Police Now graduates
Alice Ward (Peterborough)
Alice, from Holbeach, Lincolnshire, has a degree in theology and religious studies from the University of Leeds. She likes playing and umpiring netball, watching cricket, dog walking, cooking, fashion and photography. She took part in an expedition to Kenya and Tanzania, which involved climbing Mount Kenya.
Alice said: "Police Now offers a fantastic opportunity for me to develop and learn new skills in an exciting and challenging environment, whilst helping to make a difference in society. I am looking forward to the challenges of working in Cambridgeshire and the positive impact I can make."
Jacob Reeves (Wisbech)
Jacob likes hiking, camping and walking, was a Scout as a boy and became a Scout leader when he turned 18. He's always enjoyed working with young people and has worked as an afterschool club science teacher for young children. He has studied criminology at Durham University for the past three years and volunteered with Durham Constabulary.
He said: "I think Police Now is a wonderful opportunity. Its emphasis on community and problem-orientated policing strategies resound strongly with me, as do its obvious influences from the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), a personal interest of mine. I'm incredibly excited to be joining Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The combined complications of urban and rural policing and wide contrast in socio-economic conditions, combined with an increasingly culturally diverse community, presents a unique policing challenge."
Joshua Ives (Huntingdon)
Joshua has studied modern history at the University of East Anglia and specialises in the Third Reich but doesn't spend all his time reading.
He runs, swims and recently worked alongside the Norfolk Library Service in an outreach project with the elderly community. The project, which includes interviewing and transcribing their stories, aims to record the local history of Norwich and surrounding area. It also engages vulnerable elderly people in discussions and community gatherings.
He said: "Both my parents are police officers from Suffolk so I have always grown up in the 'police family', with the desire to join someday."
Rhian Jayne Jones (Wisbech)
Forensic science student Rhian likes keeping fit through running and strength training, and enjoys reading, writing and camping. She worked as a security guard at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and was working in the BBC building on "Super Saturday", meeting and greeting athletes and celebrities.
She said: "I have known for quite some time that I would like to have a career which was closely linked with the police force; I very much enjoy my university course, but I have found the scientific research aspect of it doesn't appeal to me as much as the analytical and investigative side of it.
"I am looking forward to joining Cambridgeshire as the team that I have met so far seem wonderfully confident and enthusiastic about their roles and are very positive about the Police Now mission, so I feel that I am in good hands and will be well supported."
Tom Dodge (Peterborough)
Tom has a degree in International Relations and has studied for a Masters in International Security and Terrorism. He joined the Air Training Corps (ATC) when he was 13, rising to become a Cadet Warrant Officer and supervised a team of NCOs.
At 16 he began working as a part-time DJ around Nottingham and at 18 moved into nightclub and bar residencies. He memorably DJed with BBC Radio 1's Danny Howard in Newcastle and at the 7,500 capacity Nottingham Arena. For four years he worked as Archie the Stag, Nottingham Rugby Club's mascot.
He said: "I've always wanted to join the police and the Police Now programme seemed like the best option to use my skills learnt at university in a real, practical way. Most grad schemes offer the same old boring internships and desk jobs which might look attractive on paper, but their actual agency to change people's lives is limited. Police Now offers the ability to actually be out on the ground working to improve the face of policing, community relations and reduce crime."