A FORMER teacher will swap the classroom for the streets of Eastwood when she starts work as part of a team of “dedicated problem solvers” in the county’s “most challenging communities”.
Nicola Dewhurst will be one of 12 officers to join South Yorkshire this summer as part of the Police Now programme, which only recruits people with a minimum 2:1 university degree.
She will be tasked with forging community links and responding to concerns in the area.
Nicola said: “I enjoyed teaching at secondary school but I want a fresh challenge where I can work with different people to improve their lives.
“Working with my South Yorkshire Police colleagues in Eastwood certainly appears to offer variety and the opportunity to make a difference.
“I regularly engaged with children from varying backgrounds during my teaching days in Manchester and I am confident I can become the main point of contact for the Eastwood residents when they need help to prevent crime and tackle anti-social behaviour.
“We will be looking to empower residents to work with South Yorkshire Police and partner agencies such as Rotherham Borough Council to solve problems and have a positive impact on their environment.”
Officers will also work in Edlington, Mexborough, Goldthorpe and Dinnington, as well as in Sheffield and Doncaster.
They will spend two years in their dedicated areas, during which time they will be expected to pass their probation and reach the same standards expected from a traditional recruit, while developing countless neighbourhood and problem solving skills.
Sgt Mike Miles, Police Now implementation lead for South Yorkshire Police, said: “Nicola and her Police Now counterparts will each be dedicated to a specific neighbourhood where they will work with residents, identify issues that matter to the community before working to fix recurring problems and provide long-term change.
“Their roles, whilst targeted to tackling specific community issues, will complement the wider neighbourhood policing offer that is currently being developed by the force alongside our public and partners.
“The project has already run in seven forces nationally and has brought many benefits to challenged communities around the UK.
“By offering a new entry route into the service to graduates, we are able to broaden the experience and skills of our workforce.
“We are now one of 19 different forces involved in the project this year.”