Ever since Keaton can remember, he wanted to become a police officer. At 16 years old he signed up to Leicestershire Police’s cadet programme and then went on to become a special constable. Today (31 July) he proudly joins the force as a police officer and looks forward to beginning the next chapter of his policing journey.
Keaton says: “I always knew I wanted to join the police and so I’ve steered my life in that direction from a young age. I loved being a police cadet and it sparked my interest even more. My cadet leaders were serving police officers so it gave me the chance to speak to them and learn more about the job.”
PC Jon Puckey, Keaton’s cadet leader, said: “When Keaton joined the Hinckley and Blaby cadet unit he immediately demonstrated a keenness and willingness to learn about the policing world. He shone as a cadet and I often relied on him to help organise the sessions and provide inputs to other cadets. I am thrilled to see that he excelled as a Special and I am confident that he will continue to excel as a police officer.”
As soon as Keaton turned 18 he joined the Special Constabulary, putting his policing knowledge to the test. Special Constables are volunteer police officers with the same powers as regular police officers. They work alongside police officers to respond to calls, provide reassurance and reduce crime.
From the first call he responded to, Keaton realised how serious his role was. He said: “We were responding to a report of a domestic when a member of the public approached me and said they’d found someone deceased in their car. I raced over to help, leaving my colleague to deal with the domestic. Luckily the person in the car was alive but they had been drink driving.
“Then on our way to another incident we pulled round a corner to find a group of people fighting with weapons. It certainly was a reality check for me. It’s not all rosy but actually very serious work, the real deal. I was definitely in at the deep end but it quickly taught me to think on my feet and made me realise that I really could do this.”
A proud moment for Keaton was when he was able to step up and support the force’s response to COVID-19 by being part of Operation Formidable. He volunteered more than 200 hours to support frontline policing between 27 March and 17 May, contributing to almost 9000 voluntary hours given by Leicestershire’s Special Constabulary.
After spending two busy years as a special constable, Keaton decided that the time was right to begin his career as a full-time police officer. “I’m so grateful for the experiences I gained from being a police cadet and a special constable. Now I’m going into my chosen career with the knowledge and confidence that it is the job for me. I’m looking forward to applying my learning and experiences into my training and I can’t wait to get started,” he added.
Keaton plans to continue to support volunteers in policing and hopes to be able to inspire young people in the way that his leaders inspired him.
Sergeant Jo Harland, lead for Volunteers in Policing, said: “Keaton is a brilliant example of how joining us as a cadet or special can really help people to reach their goal of becoming a police officer. As a force we are so grateful to have had his support for the last 4 years, and we look forward to watching where his policing journey will take him in the future. Thank you, Keaton.”