Forty student police officers have enrolled in a new police constable training programme and are the first in Wiltshire to start it.
It'll see student officers either undergo a three-year apprenticeship degree in policing or a two-year diploma for those who already have a degree.
The new national entry routes for police constables have been set by the College of Policing to standardise professional qualification levels.
The training - which runs from the HQ in Devizes - sees Wiltshire Police team up with the University of South Wales.
Students will be undergoing their first few weeks of training online due to the pandemic and the curriculum has been adapted accordingly.
“Our course trainers have done a fantastic job getting the new training programme up and running online, working alongside our partners at the University of South Wales,” said Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills.
“I am proud to welcome the first students to Wiltshire taking the new apprenticeship degree or the graduate diploma and wish them well with their policing careers.
"The introduction of the programme heralds an important landmark in the continued development of policing in the country, with all new recruits now graduating with a degree level qualification in policing.
“We are on track for a significant uplift in police officer numbers over the next few years, with a further 120 students expected to start over the next 12 months.
“Increases in the Council Tax policing precept and additional Government funding means we can recruit, train and deploy even more officers to tackle crime and the issues that are really important to our communities,” he added.
(Picture credits: Wiltshire Police)
PCC Angus Macpherson started his working life as an apprentice and believes the new apprenticeships could really benefit the Force:
“When we talk about apprenticeships, I'm a firm supporter.
"The training programme is ambitious and will benefit our officers, the force as a whole and the communities they serve.
"It also serves to show that policing is a demanding job, requiring professional skills and knowledge."
Twenty five of the new students are doing the degree apprenticeship, while the other 15 are taking the diploma course.
Their initial 23 weeks of training will see them study together in mixed groups, before joining community policing teams under tutorship to continue their academic studies.
The Force anticipate recruitment opening once again early next year, but welcome interest online.