NEW RECRUITS: Constables Jenny Melville and Hannah Edwards are keen to serve the Gladstone community.
NEW RECRUITS: Constables Jenny Melville and Hannah Edwards are keen to serve the Gladstone community. Mark Zita

Hard slog for Gladstone's newest police recruits

THOSE who believe becoming a police officer is a walk in the park, think again.

Gladstone received two new constables this week - Constables Jenny Melville and Hannah Edwards - who graduated from the Queensland Police Academy on January 17.

They've only done a handful of shifts since arriving in town but both officers are showing no signs of homesickness.

Constable Jenny Melville came from Brisbane and had aspirations to become a police officer since she was a child.

"When I was 12 years old the show Recruits was on and ever since then that's what I've wanted to do. I didn't tell my parents until I was about 18 that I wanted to do that so I kept it a secret for so long and eventually I ended up here," Const Melville said.

"I did a Bachelor of Justice before I applied because I knew there was a couple of thousand of people applying each year so I thought I'd do a degree, get a background in sociology, the demographics and why people commit crimes and as a result that looked good on my application.

"I went through the same process as Hannah and as a result got accepted into the academy."

Const Melville said Gladstone was on in her top five towns for deployment and was pleased when she heard she'd be heading to the Port City.

Constable Edwards was as equally excited when she was told she'd be heading to Gladstone.

"I've been here about a week now and it's good to finally start. It's been a different experience but a really good one," she said.

"I'm lucky I got (Gladstone). Even though it wasn't my first preference I'm very lucky and I think it was a blessing in disguise we both got it. We're very happy here now."

 

Gladstone Police Station and Court House.
Gladstone Police Station and Court House. Paul Braven GLA010217_Police_Cou

Sergeant Kevin Whicker helps train first year constables and runs other training programs within the station and said the recruitment process can be broken down into three stages.

"The application when they decide they want to join and meet certain physical abilities and other requirements, then there are various physical and mental assessments done to see if they are suited to a police career," he said.

"Then they get past that hurdle they actually get into the academy and do six months there where they learn all the theory and law they'll be expected to know and enforce.

"Once they get out of the academy they get assigned to what's called a training station anywhere in the state to do a 12-month on-the-job training - similar to an apprenticeship where an apprentice works with a tradesmen and teaches them the practical aspect of their career - the mentor system we have is similar to that.

"Once they finished their first level of training it continues on from then depending where they want to go - if they want to go to the CIB (Criminal Investigation Branch) or any other specialist area.. also down the track if they want to get promoted there's further study they have to do."

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the addition of Constables Melville and Edwards indicated Gladstone Police Station was ticking the right boxes in regards to training methods.

 

MP Glenn Butcher with twin brother Sergeant Wayne Butcher.
MP Glenn Butcher with twin brother Sergeant Wayne Butcher. Mike Richards GLA121214BUTC

"It's great to have two new constables in Gladstone and particularly this station as a training station so it's certainly a big tick for Gladstone that we can get new recruits straight from the academy to come here and learn the trade," he said.

"They are both here for 12 months as are all new constables who come to Gladstone and get that learning on the job with mentors.

"We have some really good mentors here at Gladstone Police Station with a lot of experience here to help the new constables how to do the job right and safely.

"As a government we are certainly looking after the Gladstone centre here."



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