Chief Constable Nick Gargan confident the best new recruits will continue to flock to Avon and Somerset
AVON and Somerset’s new Chief Constable is confident the force will continue to attract the best new recruits, despite the starting salary for PCs being slashed.
As part of the Government’s reforms, aspiring constables with no previous experience will earn £19,000 per year, instead of £23,000.
But when Avon and Somerset constabulary recently invited applications for their next recruitment drive they still received an overwhelming response, with more than 30 applications for every post.
In an interview with The Post, Chief Constable Nick Gargan said: “We opened our recruitment system for new applicants for police constable vacancies for a week.
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“In the course of that week, we had 3,996 applicants, of whom 3,400 fitted into our eligibility criteria and that’s looking to fill potentially somewhere between 100 and 150 vacancies. So, in terms of quantity of applications, I don’t think we’ve got too much to worry about.”
It has been more than two years since the force recruited police officers. The first intake, later this year, is expected to be 35 officers.
During the busy first two weeks of his tenure, Mr Gargan’s tour of the force area has including speaking to more than 400 law graduates at Bristol University.
“What I want to do is get the right blend of applicants,” he added.
“Policing is a career that should be attractive to the very brightest and the very best students, with the very best skills and with high potential to the future.
“Now, I wouldn’t want every recruit to be the brightest graduates, but I think we want to attract some bright graduates and I want every recruit to have the right skills and commitment to providing a high quality of service.
“Thus far, I’ve seen nothing to persuade me that we aren’t getting the right quality of applicants across the board, but I would like to do just that little bit more to attract a relatively small number of the most able people who should join policing with their eyes fixed on the top.”
Mr Gargan has replaced Colin Port, who retired after leading the force for eight years.
He has risen from a Leicestershire constable in 1988, to the helm of one of the country’s largest forces, and has exacting standards for the 6,000 officers and staff now working for him.
“I want the people who are providing our police service to be honest and act with integrity,” he said. “I want them to work hard, be diligent, go that extra mile. I want them to become famous nationally for the respect with which they treat people, the quality of their interactions with the community, talking to people in simple language that they understand.
“If you’ve got that integrity from hard working-police officers, who treat the community with respect, then you won’t go far wrong.”