A former soldier who became a police officer says now is the “perfect time” for other veterans to join the police – and that Nottinghamshire is the ideal place to go.
PC Steve Van Der Bank said joining Nottinghamshire Police was one of the best decisions he’d ever made and is now encouraging others who are seeking a fresh challenge to follow in his footsteps.
Military skills translate well into policing, which is why we recently launched a new recruitment scheme to provide a direct pathway for military personnel to join the police service.
Currently, there is no specific national pathway for serving members of the Armed Forces to join the police – despite lots of military skills translating well into policing.
Nottinghamshire Police’s pioneering new Military Widening Access Course, supported by the College of Policing, means serving military personnel will now be supported to transition into an exciting new career in policing.
The new pathway has been fully-endorsed by PC Steve Van Der Bank, who left the Army in 2007 and joined Nottinghamshire Police in 2018.
“I cannot advocate it strongly enough,” said the former Lance Corporal, who served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and toured Iraq in 2005.
“It’s a pathway that makes it very easy for those from a military background to adapt into a career in policing.
“When people leave the Armed Forces, it can be hard to know what to do next. But joining the police makes a lot of sense as it’s very much like the military. There’s many different avenues you can go down so you should never every get stale or rooted into a department.
“Also, one thing that’s drilled into you in the Army is to use your head and always be on top of your game. That’s exactly what the police are as well.”
The force has co-designed an innovative Level 4 qualification in Policing with the University of Derby, accessible to those within the military who are looking to utilise their skills and experiences in the police service.
The 12-week pilot course fast-tracks entrants onto the second year of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), which involves on and off-the-job learning in partnership with the University of Derby and the Ministry of Defence.
Having joined the police, the new recruits will then complete a two-year probationary period to be confirmed in post as a police officer and achieve a degree.
PC Van Der Bank said he speaks from experienced when he describes the PCDA as a fantastic route into policing.
“The course had just been introduced when I enrolled onto it,” he said. “It’s fantastic because, basically, the police pay for your degree while you train to become a police officer.
“The new 12-week course for military personnel is even better because it fast-tracks you onto the second year.
“It’s so beneficial. In that three months, you’re gaining experience, knowledge and everything you need before going into year two, so you are going to be equipped to do your role, plus it shortens everything in relation to your probation period which is also financially beneficial.
“Secondly, there is a balance; I’m a single father and I’ve managed to go from looking after my children, doing a degree as well as being a police officer, so it’s very, very achievable.”
Superintendent Louise Clarke said over 40 enquiries had been received since the new pathway was launched.
She said: “I’m delighted we’ve had so much interest because we fully recognise the skills that are transferable from the military.
“Lots of former serving members of the Armed Forces and Reservists have joined us over the years and gone on to be really successful at all ranks in our organisation.
“Through the new Military Widening Access Course, we are looking forward to welcoming more service personnel into the force.
“Our message is clear, if you are thinking of leaving the Armed Forces before June 2023 and want to become a police officer, this is the programme for you.”
The Military Widening Access Course is among a number of entry routes for those wanting to become a police constable in Nottinghamshire.
The ongoing success of these entry routes has seen Nottinghamshire Police achieve its national Uplift recruitment target a year ahead of schedule.
The force reached 2,380 officers by March 2022, meaning officer ranks at the force are now at their highest levels for 11 years.
Serving personnel can register their interest in the Military Widening Access Course by emailing email@example.com or by applying via the ‘Current Vacancies’ section on our website.