Emotional moment as police chief welcomes new officers into force
Suffolk's police chief says it was an emotional moment speaking at his final passing out parade before retirement - as he shared memories of his own graduation day almost 30 years ago.
Chief constable Gareth Wilson welcomed the new batch of newly-qualified police constables at a ceremony at Martlesham Police Investigation Centre on Friday, February 16.
As 16 new officers joined the ranks, Mr Wilson said it brought back memories of his own passing out ceremony in Shotley in 1989.
“I thought it was going to be quite difficult, it was a very emotional moment,” he said.
“But what shone through was the quality of the group we had down there - three of them even received special awards.
“To think almost 30 years ago I stood there with my relatives in Shotley, which was the regional training centre at the time.
“You are feeling apprehension but pride in what you have achieved.
“To see that same level of pride and apprehension in the new officers has been lovely to see.
“We have a diverse mix of people in this group.
“There are people who have come from university, one has worked at Waitrose, we have a couple of PCSOs.
“A broad range of people.”
Mr Wilson is set to hang up his handcuffs in April having risen through the ranks in his almost 30-year policing career.
He led the force as temporary chief from March 2015 before being confirmed on January 2016, but is now looking forward to seeking new challenges.
Mr Wilson has released a photograph of his passing out ceremony, showing him celebrating the big day with his family.
However, he held off showing the new officers the image, as he felt this was their day in the spotlight.
He said he felt confident the constabulary would go from strength to strength in the future.
“We are going to be recruiting about 100 more police officer in the near future,” he said. “That is to replace role and new posts from the precept.
“That brings some real diversity and new blood into the organisation from all walks of life.
“I always say, and this has been with every passing out ceremony, standing there as the head of the organisation: ‘This is what is expected from you - now go out there, enjoy yourself and be professional.’”