Breaking Hendon LONDON

The Met virtually welcomed its latest round of recruits at the end of last month, with 320 trainees taking their first steps to becoming police officers

The Met virtually welcomed its latest round of recruits at the end of last month, with 320 trainees taking their first steps to becoming police officers.

The intake were set to start at Hendon on Monday, 30 March but due to the current government restrictions instead began their courses from home.

Each recruit received a personal phone call from senior members of the Met’s learning and development team who helped explain the decision to reconfigure the course and answer any questions or concerns.

They have all now started their seven-week Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) online, supported by CKP sergeants who are available to support them remotely.

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said: “Despite the unique circumstances we find ourselves in, recruitment and training remains a priority and we are doing all we can to ensure our recruits continue to receive the best possible start to their careers.

“We have of course made a number of adjustments so that as far as possible, we adhere to government guidelines about social distancing to keep everyone safe.

“We have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to adapt our courses and now have plans in place which mean the recruits will have the same training, but delivered in a different way.

“Replacing some classroom-based sessions with online learning will ensure far less footfall at our sites, particularly Hendon. The centre does however remain open and recruits will attend for training in areas that are not suitable for working from home. In these cases, appropriate hygiene and social distancing measures will be in place.”

As well as those starting their CKP, another intake of 171 officers who have just completed the certificate began their foundation training at the end of March.

This would ordinarily be delivered at Hendon, but will now be completed via a mixture of remote learning and on-site teaching.

Some practical elements of the course will now be covered when the officers arrive on their new command units, in a specially tutored phase called ‘street duties’. This allows the recruits to begin supporting London at a time when they are needed more than ever, while being tutored by some of the Met’s most experienced officers.

Those trainees who are already partway through their foundation course have also moved to a part on-site, part-digital method of learning.

Kirsty Mulvey, who is in week 12 of her 13-week course, said: “One of the reasons I applied to join the Met was to make a difference. Seeing what our officers have been doing across London over the last few weeks has only made me even more keen to get started.

“I’m so close to the end of my training at Hendon and I can feel the excitement and the eagerness of my classmates just to get out there and get involved in our communities.

“I cannot wait to get my warrant card and to put on my uniform and to start working as part of the emergency response team on my borough.”

Restrictions on gatherings also means that the most recent passing-out parade, scheduled to take place on Friday, 20 March, had to be postponed.

“Passing-out parades have taken place in Hendon since 1934 and is something that recruits and their families always look forward to,” said Commander Helen Millichap, who leads the Met’s learning and development.

“I know the officers were disappointed – as we were – not to take part in the ceremony but we are already working on getting a new date for this to ensure they don’t miss out.

“These new officers are already on the streets of London, engaging with the public and keeping people safe during these extraordinary times. They joined the job to make a difference and there is no doubt they are now doing that while helping to ensure the Met maintains its operational resilience throughout the coming weeks and months.”

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