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Force recruits stage sit-in at campus

A mass of officers have taken over a university - to ensure their studies aren’t interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Norfolk Constabulary’s newest recruits are training on the University of East Anglia’s deserted campus.

The university has opened its doors after COVID-19 social distancing rules filled the force’s training centre to its limit.

With their regular training site in Wymondham at full capacity, Norfolk Constabulary had to rethink new ways of training new recruits and putting on regular training sessions for officers currently in force.

The UEA had switched to online learning due to the lockdown so it allowed the force to use the lecture theatre, seminar rooms and a foyer area for lectures.

The collaboration began in early April and will continue up until September, by which time close to 1,000 hours of teaching of the new recruits will have been completed on UEA's campus.

The deal also put aside friendly local rivalries as the force earlier this year signed Anglia Ruskin University as partner for its a seven-force deal to deliver the new police degree, 

The force has revealed that the UEA’s modern facilities have also enabled Constabulary training staff to use the latest technology and test different facilities available at the campus. This has helped inform the design and specification of their new Centre of Excellence.

UEA's security and cleaning staff assisted with ensuring the buildings remained clean on a daily basis to reduce the risk of coronavirus, and even helped with role-playing training by playing civilians in exercises.

The university is famous for the creative writing course started by literary giant Malcolm Bradbury and the course’s archive includes scripts from popular British TV crime series A Touch of Frost, Dalziel and Pascoe, and Kavanagh QC. 

Norfolk Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable, Paul Sanford, is just glad the university has helped keep his trainee officers on track.

DCC Sanford said: “The Constabulary is extremely grateful to UEA Vice-Chancellor David Richardson and all staff at UEA for their generosity during the pandemic. The pandemic reiterated the importance of thinking of others as well as the role of key workers within our communities.

“Use of the campus has enabled our programmes to increase police officer numbers in Norfolk to continue putting extra officers out on the streets at this most crucial of times.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor David Richardson said: “UEA has always had a role in the local community and this is just another example of how our students and staff have stepped forwards to help during this global pandemic.

“I’m proud that we are able to support Norfolk Police, who we have always maintained a good relationship with, and I would like to thank all the staff who have helped to make this happen.”

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