Thursday 22 February 2024
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Nottingham

Daughter of Nottingham police officer dubbed ‘Robocop’ gets dads’ badge number

The daughter of a renowned police officer dubbed “Robocop” for his prolific arrest rate says his exploits inspired her to become a cop.

PC Rachel Evans has joined Nottinghamshire Police after hearing about her father’s time in the force – and in a fitting tribute has been given his old collar number.

Diederik Coetzee made national headlines for his extraordinary arrest rate in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

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In 2005, he made 309 arrests while working in the town.

Sadly his policing career was cut short in 2011 when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver as he cycled to the gym.

He sustained serious head injuries and spent 15 months in hospital and rehabilitation centres before retiring on medical grounds.

It was during a visit to see her father in hospital that Rachel began to think about a career in policing.

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The 31-year-old, who has joined the Response team at Jubilee House police station in Mansfield, said: “My dream job as a child was to be a police officer but I ended up going down a different avenue, studying film at university. Then my dad had the accident and it made me rethink I wanted to do.

“I would visit my dad in hospital and his colleagues were there telling me stories about how amazing he was at his job as a police officer. That reignited an old flame and I decided to join the police.

“I’ve been a police community support officer for eight years and I’m really excited to undertake this new challenge and become a police constable.”

Rachel was among 47 new recruits who passed out at a ceremony at Sherwood Lodge HQ yesterday (6 August) in one of the biggest intakes of police officers in a single day for some time. The parade was overseen by Chief Constable Craig Guildford, after the recruits completed an 18-week training programme.

Dressed in full uniform, Rachel said she was proud to be wearing her father’s old collar number, 2450.

Rachel said: “It means a lot to me as it’s carrying on his legacy. He’s such an inspirational person and had such a positive impact on the community he policed. It makes me feel so incredibly proud to wear his collar number.”

Moments after the ceremony, Mr Coetzee gave his daughter a huge hug.

He said: “I’m so proud of her. I’ve been waiting for this day – it’s nice to have a police officer in the family again.

“She’s got to make well over 300 arrests in one year to beat my record. It’s a big target but she’ll do it. She’s certainly got the brains to do it.”

At the time of the hit-and-run crash, which happened while Mr Coetzee was off duty and cycling to Blidworth in November 2011, Mr Coetzee’s family were told to expect the worst.

He had been found in the middle of Blidworth Lane, having suffered serious head injuries in the collision.

The man responsible, Mitchel Graham, of Grange Road, Blidworth, was jailed for 15 months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving.

Rachel said the incident had left the family “devastated” but said her father’s condition had slowly improved over the years.

She said it was great he could attend the passing out parade. ”I graduated from Derby University some years ago and unfortunately my dad wasn’t able to come to my graduation because he was in the early stages of his rehabilitation and wasn’t able to leave hospital.

“What was supposed to be a very happy moment was tainted with sadness because he wasn’t there and when I look at the photos it breaks my heart as he’s not in them. That is why I am very grateful, in so many ways that he is able to see me passing out as a police officer.”

During their 18-week training programme, the new recruits completed a mix of classroom training and operational attachments with their tutors. The new recruits have now been deployed across the county, where they undertake a range of duties in their new roles alongside their tutor officers.

Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “I’d like to congratulate the officers for completing their training and wish them well on their policing journey.

“They are another example of our commitment to expanding the force and recruiting people with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds.

“We are ahead of the game as a force in terms of recruitment and I am very pleased to note the impact this is also having in terms of us being more representative of the people we serve as a force.”

Earlier this year, it was revealed an intensive recruitment drive had swelled Nottinghamshire Police’s officer ranks to its highest number for nearly a decade.

Home Office figures confirmed the force had reached 2,224 officers, up by 245 (12.4 per cent) since October 2019, thanks in a large part to the national Operation Uplift.

With the passing out of a further 47 officers, the force is well on track to meet its target to recruit more than 300 officers by 2022.

Nottinghamshire Police is also leading the way in terms of inclusivity after it was revealed it is in the top number of forces in the country to recruit just as many women as men between April 2020 and March 2021.

The force also topped the national league table for recruiting people from ethnic diverse backgrounds – by recruiting a fifth of its new officers from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds. This was nearly double the national average of 10.2 per cent.

Continued recruitment has also had an impact on crime levels, with national figures released last week showing overall crime falling by 21 per cent in Nottinghamshire in the last financial year, which was only bettered only by the City of London Police – which covers just a square mile of the capital.

To learn more about a policing career with the force visit: https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/careers/nottinghamshire-police-officer