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Kent holds passing out parade for class of COVID-19 recruits

A lockdown passing out parade has been held for a COVID-19 class of 55 new police recruits. Family and friends of Kent Police’s new officers watched from their cars as they took the salute.

Kent Police’s newest recruits who have completed their training under lockdown finished with a socially-distanced parade at the Kent Police Training College in Maidstone.

The 55 officers were joined by Chief Constable Alan Pughsley and Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott.

But in a change to normal parades, members of the officers’ friends and family were invited to observe in their cars, instead of sitting in the stands.

Like all forces across the country, Kent has had to adapt training to meet COVID-19 restrictions including the use of online learning. But the traditional ceremony was the one element that was not going to be missed.

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: “A passing out parade is an important part of an officer’s life, not only for them, but for their families. It’s a moment to celebrate that all their hard work has paid off and an event that stays in their memories forever. 

“We were determined not to let it pass by so I’m delighted we were able to welcome families once again to see our new officers join an outstanding force, all the while keeping everyone safe.”

Kent has been allocated 147 officers in the first wave of the government’s uplift programme and an increase in the police precept has ensured the latest recruits have the right support.

PCC Scott said: “Kent Police is on course to soon have more police officers than at any point in its history. This has been made possible thanks to additional investment from government as well as money I raised through local council tax.

“It was a pleasure to witness some of this next generation of Kent Police officers complete their initial training on Friday. The parade had to be adapted in light of the pandemic, but what never changes is the pride clearly visible across the faces of each group of new officers and their loved ones.”

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