Passing out parade held for new officers
A passing out parade was held on Thursday morning for 15 new officers who will now form the complement at the Royal Gibraltar Police and the Gibraltar Defence Police.
On parade were 12 RGP officers and three GDP officers who were inspected by the Governor of Gibraltar, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, Government Minister, Dr John Cortes, and other local dignitaries.
Friends and family were also gathered for the event held at Central Hall.
The new officers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and include a Royal Marine Commando, a Chief Inspector from Police Scotland, a Parking Management Official and a student, a spokesman for the RGP said.
There are also a number of UK police officers who have moved to Gibraltar from the UK.
During the ceremony, PC Andrew Newton received the Best Academic award, whilst PC Tristan Lark received the Best All Round Recruit award.
In welcoming the new recruits to the force, Commissioner of Police, Richard Ullger, praised the new recruits for completing their training while preparing them for what lies ahead.
“Policing Gibraltar over the coming years will be challenging for our newest of recruits, but they will be confident that the skills they have been taught over the past few months will equip them to deal with the different incidents they will be deployed to,” Mr Ullger said.
“No incident will ever be the same, and we shall make mistakes in our journey, but we shall learn from them, share our experiences and become better at what we do.”
Mr Ullger celebrated the fact that the officers come from different backgrounds, but added that “a cause of regret” is that only two women had passed out in this parade.
“Representation of women in the RGP currently sits shy of the 20% mark and this is well below the national average for the police forces of England and Wales – and, of course, well below the percentage of women in our community,” Mr Ullger said.
“With a great deal of determination and with the full support of our wonderful Women in Policing Group, we are extremely keen to recruit many more women over the coming years.”
In his speech Mr Ullger also underscored the challenges that his force has faced over the past year.
The OS35 wreck, the fire on the eastern side which affected Gibraltar’s water supply, the visit from the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and the inquiry into the early retirement of former Commissioner of Police, Ian McGrail, have been “extremely time-consuming and has moved policing resources away from other core functions”.
But despite a busy year Mr Ullger said the RGP has made progress in meeting the findings in His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Service report for last year, having achieved six of the recommendations and partially achieving four others.
“I am so pleased that the findings reported that we now investigate and record crime better, we have improved the standards of behaviours of our people and robustly dealt with officers and staff that do not deserve to be part of our organisation,” Mr Ullger said.
“We have also improved our response to incidences of crime and emergencies reported to us, protecting the vulnerable and providing a better coordinated service to victims of crimes.”
“We understand our demands better, through improved strategic demand assessments, and this has made us more effective and efficient.”
Mr Ullger said the RGP has also improved in its approach in the way domestic abuse cases are investigated, and this has “created an environment for victims to have confidence and trust” the RGP.
Going forward, the RGP is “committed to keeping Gibraltar safe” by working with partners both locally and internationally, Mr Ullger added.
He wished the officers the best in their careers, adding that he was grateful to them for making policing their chosen profession.
The officers were presented with the Policing Whistle, which was a tool presented to officers when the Gibraltar Police was created in 1830, Mr Ullger said.
“Its value then is different to its value today, but its significance can’t be underestimated,” he added.
For her part, Samantha Sacramento, the Minister for Justice, said: “Today marks a momentous occasion for the Royal Gibraltar Police as we congratulate their new recruits on their Passing Out Parade.”
“Their dedication and commitment to serving and protecting our community is truly admirable, and I have no doubt that they will uphold the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in their duties.”
“As the Minister of Justice, I extend my warmest congratulations and best wishes for a successful career ahead.”
The new officers will now join their more senior colleagues where they will spend the next two years on probation.