Last week 32 new faces were sworn in as officers of Leicestershire Police. Over the next 13 weeks they will receive specialised training to prepare them for life on the streets of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
And for one recruit, she’ll not only be getting to grips with patrolling the streets as a new cop but she’ll also be exploring the area as a new resident.
Kelly Walker moved from Sherburn in Elmet, a small village in North Yorkshire, only a month ago to fulfil her childhood dream of becoming a police officer.
The 24-year-old can remember the moment her future career was set in stone as it was also the time her family received some devastating news.
“I was nine and I remember so vividly an officer knocking on our door to tell us my grandma had died in a road traffic collision,” said Kelly.
“Although the news was so upsetting for me and my family, the thing that stuck in my mind, even at that age, was the care and compassion he showed us.
“It was from that moment I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. After being accepted to Leicestershire Police I even managed to track the officer down and tell him he was my inspiration for joining – he’s still working for North Yorkshire Police but is now nearing retirement.”
After finishing her degree and spending two months travelling around Asia, Kelly decided she needed some life experience before embarking on her policing journey.
For the last four years she has spent her time as a carer, looking after elderly people with dementia, as well as volunteering for her home force.
But when the time came and she felt ready to start the process of applying to become an officer, there was only one place she was interested in joining – Leicestershire.
Kelly said: “I was drawn to applying to Leicestershire Police because of how diverse the communities are, I think it will be really interesting and exciting to engage with people from so many different backgrounds. There also seemed to be a real effort by the force to want to recruit more women which really appealed to me.
“I am so pleased to be finally starting to train for a career I’ve been thinking about for so long. The cohort I have joined with are all so great and although my family live nearly 100 miles way, it already feels like we are family.”
And with 15 years to think about her career, Kelly has also started to plan out what she wants to achieve.
She added: “I love problem solving, probably fuelled by my time helping my patients do crosswords so my ambition in the future is to become a detective. I know there is a lot to learn before then but I waited 15 years to get to where I am now so I can wait a little longer.”