Suffolk police officer reflects on year as a new recruit during Covid
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
One of Suffolk's newest police recruits has taken a look back at becoming a constable – in a year like no other.
Pc Molly Stanmore began training to become an officer with Suffolk Constabulary at the end of May 2020, while the UK was still in the midst of the first Covid-19 lockdown.
The 26-year-old had applied for the police in summer 2019 after deciding to change career from teaching at a special school near Colchester.
She took her first steps towards joining the force by sitting the standard police assessment in November that year.
Now signed off independently, having completed a 10-week tutorship and the first of a two-year probationary period, Pc Stanmore returned to HQ last week for intoximeter training – part of a two-week course otherwise being conducted over Microsoft Teams.
"It's all been going really well," said the officer, whose patch includes Ipswich and its surrounding area.
"I've not really known anything different, but I can start to see things picking up and going back to normal.
"We haven't had many public order shifts, with pubs and clubs being closed, but that's about to start up again.
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"I've enjoyed being able to learn on the job by putting myself into different situations and say I'm capable of dealing with something.
"No two days are the same. I've been going out to anything and everything. It's really fulfilled my hopes in that way."
Sergeant Jon Driver, initial training and continuing professional development team supervisor, said the last year had been challenging – massively so when the country was thrown back into lockdown after Christmas, forcing the unplanned extension of two courses on the programme.
The force has introduced lateral flow testing to keep students as safe as possible, while carrying out regular risk assessments to allow continuation of the essential practical elements of training.
Early on in the pandemic, Sgt Driver approached his old high school, Farlingaye, and was offered space at its temporarily closed sixth-form centre, in Woodbridge, as an alternative to HQ's smaller rooms, where capacity was effectively halved for social distancing.
As things begin to return to normal, Sgt Driver said he was looking most forward to welcoming back the traditional format of 'passing out' ceremony, with family members in attendance to see loved-ones graduate.