Police defend baby-faced recruits after photo sparks online trolling
They were recruited as part of the Police Uplift programme
A police chief has come to the rescue of her baby-faced recruits who have been savagely trolled since their pictures were posted on social media.
Kirklees Superintendent Helen Brear called the response to the pics of the young-blue-line cops, “incredibly disappointing”.
One person suggested, “The 10-year-old could have washed his hands before his pic with the boss.”
Brear shared a picture of the recruits – student officers recruited as part of the government’s flagship Police Uplift programme which aims to draw in 20,000 new officers on Friday.
But on Sunday, the West Yorkshire police chief was forced to condemn the responses to the picture of the youngsters, both of whom are over the age of 18.
“I have been incredibly disappointed by some of the responses,” Brear said.
— Superintendent Helen Brear (@WYP_HBrear) July 28, 2023
'Both will make great cops'
"Both of my colleagues passed the recruitment process and displayed they had the skills/ abilities," Superintendent Helen Brear added.
“Both will make great cops and I as their leader will ensure they reach their potential.”
The student officers, Alfie and Noah, were subjected to a torrent of ridicule on social media. One person suggested the pair had been “1000% bullied at school” while another questioned: “Has the pension got so bad that they have to start at 12?”
The teenagers were defended by several serving officers who told them to “stay safe and keep believing”. But even those wishing them well on the website said their photo showed that officers were getting “younger and younger”.
One person wrote: “The 10-year-old could have washed his hands before his pic with the boss.” A slightly kinder post read: “They literally look like school kids, but fair play and massive respect for putting their heads above the wall to take this career on.”
While a former police officer wrote: “I joined at 19 and thought I looked young, but my God they look like school children.
“That being said I in no way doubt their ability to do the job and wish them well.”
Another agreed, saying: “Blimey ma’am, they are looking younger and younger. Good luck all! Enjoy it and welcome to the policing family.”
West Yorkshire Police state on their website that those applying to join the police “must have reached 18” to become a student officer.
And although training can last up to 22 weeks, they are allowed to carry tasers during this period – with one of the recruits believed to be carrying a stun gun in the photo.
Chief superintendent Chris Casey, commander for British Transport Police in London and the South East, led a defence of the pair on social media. He wrote:
“Huge welcome to policing Noah and Alfie! A job like no other! “I recall starting as a very you[ng] looking 18-year-old special at Aston WMP – a steep learning curve, but looking young didn’t hold me back.”
And others responded to their abuse by wishing them success in their future careers.
A serving officer wrote: “Brings back floods of memories with this photo! “Being a young police officer once upon a time, I totally relate to the mix of nerves, excitement, and determination that these officers must be feeling. I wish them all the success in their career. Stay safe and keep believing.
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