South Yorkshire Police is to recruit 120 new apprentices, the force has revealed today.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, who oversees the way the force performs and manages its funding, said the apprentices are to be taken on in a 'range of roles' between now and 2020.
No other details have been released but the apprenticeships were announced today in response to an inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies, which judged the force to 'require improvement' in how it understands demand, uses its resources and plans for the future, although the report stressed that progress is being made.
Dr Billings said the new neighbourhood policing model being rolled out across South Yorkshire, where teams of officers and PCSOs will identify issues and provide solutions before problems escalate, is one of the areas of progress made by the force.
He said the apprenticeships would also play their part.
“While HM Inspectors believe South Yorkshire Police still requires improvement, they clearly recognise that the force is now travelling in the right direction and point to many positive developments," he said.
“There is a new leadership team and they are giving the force a fresh sense of purpose.
“Neighbourhood policing is being brought back; issues around 101 are being dealt with through a new IT system next year; the force is on its way to being a digital force and it is bringing on a new generation of leaders.
“It will recruit 120 apprentices across a range of roles between now and 2020."
He added: “Collaborative working with the local authorities, Fire and Rescue, other forces, the voluntary sector, and others is developing well but there is still work to be done around understanding the demands on the service both now and in the future.
"This is crucial if the force is to get right both the balance of its workforce and the skills that workforce will need.
"With an aging population and more vulnerable people, for example, softer skills become important - such as the ability to empathise or counsel.
“The report paints a picture of a force moving from a poor position to something full of promise. They are not there yet, but if the momentum described in the report is maintained I would expect future reports to show substantial improvement - which is what the public of South Yorkshire want to see.
“Throughout the coming months I will be working closely with the Chief Constable and his leadership team to address all of these concerns and recommendations.”