Another 32 new police officers were sworn in at a ceremony at Leicestershire Police headquarters yesterday afternoon.
The new officers all come from a mix of different backgrounds, each bringing with them a variety of experience to their new role. Their previous careers were in areas including hospitality, the military, support work, the prison service, retail, teaching and journalism.
Several already have experience of working for the police, both in Leicestershire and for other forces. Some of yesterday’s new recruits were formally PCSOs, contact handlers and special officers who successfully completed the police officer recruitment process.
The ceremony was overseen by Martin Pantling, Chairman of the Leicestershire Magistrate Bench, alongside Chief Constable Simon Cole and Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach.
Among the student officers taking the oath was Melissa Stapleton, who is 27 and lives in Mansfield.
She joined the force after achieving everything she set out to do working for a clothing retailer. After studying photography at university, she says she ‘fell into’ the world of retail and was good at it so stayed doing it.
She was a store manager at the Next store in Newark, and so now travels into Leicester for her new position.
As her sister works as a radiographer for the NHS Melissa wanted a new challenge that helped and supported vulnerable people. This may be what has prompted her decision to focus her policing career in helping the victims of domestic violence.
She says: “I couldn’t do a desk job, that’s for sure, I want to be on my feet getting the job done.”
“I wanted a role that’s different every day and one that I can achieve in. It’s been a while since I was in the classroom so getting used to learning again has been a gradual process and I’ve really been enjoying it.”
Toni Murphy certainly likes a challenge. She became a mum at a young age and was determined not to become a statistic so set out to achieve way more than the naysayers expected.
She weighed up applying for a PhD and for the police at the same time – and fortunately a career in policing won.
Her four daughters were aged seven, three and her twin girls’ just one when she went to university for the first time. Not content with doing her journalism and media communication degree part time, she went the whole hog and immersed herself in full time studies.
Careers in radio presenting and broadcast journalism followed until she decided to make some serious life changes and enrol to study a Masters in 2016.
Her daughters, now aged 18, 14 and 12, are really proud of their mum. Her eldest will be going to university herself this year and will be studying psychology. She’s already planning to do her Masters and PhD - you can’t help but wonder where she gets that determination from.
After a career in helping young people, Brett Lees-Smith returned to university in his 30s to get not one but two Masters Degrees after completing an Open University course in history.
He describes himself as a bit of a tearaway when he was a child so didn’t consider a career in policing would be for him, but how wrong he was.
After spells of working for the prison service, in youth justice and with looked after children he decided to use his independent thinking and his determined character in a role that gives so much back to society.
Despite not always thinking he was the right ‘fit’ to be in policing he decided that, despite his previous reservations, because policing values individuals for who they are as well as what they can bring to the force it was definitely worth reconsidering.
Brett, who is 39 and originally from Kent, likes Leicestershire’s diversity and plans to focus his career in community safety and draw on his experiences in order to give something back.
Lord Willy Bach, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire said that although the new officers’ family and friends were not able to attend yesterday’s service it won’t stop them from being very proud.
“Your recruitment is an asset for the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. To hear about your varied backgrounds has been fantastic, there is strength in being able to support our different communities.”
“You will be policing in one of the most diverse areas of the country and looking after over 1 million people doing a really important job. Yes there will be challenges but you are the right people to do it.
If you are interested in a career with Leicestershire Police visit our recruitment pages.