THE Institute of Policing at the University of Chester's Padgate campus is celebrating its 500th graduate.

Joseph Tilston is one of 58 aspiring bobbies enrolled on Cheshire Police's latest police constable degree apprenticeship at the Crab Lane campus.

Despite having only begun his studies during the last academic term, he is already preparing to go out on the beat for the first time this month.

Sergeant Eddy Waring, the force's PCDA supervisor, said: “Cheshire Police is delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Chester to welcome our second intake of police constable degree apprenticeships.

"The constabulary takes great pride in our new recruits, and we care about the standard and quality of training they receive.

"This partnership approach ensures that both academically and practically our police constable degree apprentices are equipped to succeed as police constables and serve the community of Cheshire.”

Joseph will initially head out on an allocated beat alongside a tutor constable, whom he will shadow and assist.

And he will begin independent patrols after gaining the required amount of experience.

He added: "If I can do my bit and help, that’s all that matters.

"Having grown up in rural Cheshire, I saw evidence of the different levels of crime that ran through the county.

"I think the PCDA is an excellent kickstart to an officer’s career.

"To be able to study for a degree in professional policing whilst also putting that learning into practice out on the streets is an exceptional opportunity.

"Although I didn’t know what to expect from the teaching, we have covered so much already.

"The role of a PC was so much more than I had expected.

"I am hoping to have a very rewarding career within policing, and I think I’ll be better prepared for that by going through this programme."