* Photo by Kageaki Smith. The Bermuda Island Pipe Band led the new recruits in the march past.
* Photo by Kageaki Smith. The Bermuda Island Pipe Band led the new recruits in the march past.
Police recruits were put on patrol to help tackle Bermuda's gun crime before they'd officially joined the ranks.

The 13 new recruits were taken from the classroom and "thrown in at deep end" as gun crime soared across the island at the end of last year.

They "did their bit" by standing on guard at Government House and the Premier's residence. This meant the island's more experienced officers could hit the streets.

Their early taster of policing was revealed at their passing out ceremony at police headquarters on Wednesday.

The additional weeks meant they had one of longest recruit foundation courses in the history of the Bermuda Police Service.

Governor Richard Gozney said many of the new police officers were already "familiar faces" as he had spoken to them during their time at Government House.

Sir Richard said: "They were out on duty when it was decided to backfill the serving police men and women.

"The police service needed their strength ahead of time."

Sir Richard even suggested that the "powers that be" should work this early taste of the police force into future courses "as a matter of routine."

Sir Richard went on to say that due to the recent spate of shootings there was now higher expectations of the Bermuda Police Service, particularly new recruits.

He said: "A lot will be expected of you but you will find that people will have sympathy and support for what you do."

The Governor's piece of advice for new recruits was "don't waste time when you have to wait." He said it was a profession where workers "waited for something to happen, while hoping something won't happen."

He said: "You'll have to learn how to play mental chess or learn the Russian alphabet.

"Don't get together and grumble in groups, they are not going to pay you anymore or increase your allowances if you do that."

Minister David Burch and Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva also spoke at the formal ceremony and the Bermuda Island Pipe Band led the new recruits in the march past.

The recruits were repeatedly thanked for answering the call of duty and putting themselves on the front line.

They were told they were role models for their country who had "made a life-changing decision to help make Bermuda safer."

As well as learning the law, the training course covers 34 basic policing tasks including interview technique, leadership skills, problem solving and ethical standards. Fitness is also a major part of the course with recruits being pushed to their limits.

PC Andrea Jackson was chosen by her colleagues to address the crowd at the passing out ceremony

She said the 13 recruits had started as strangers and finished as family "so who said 13 isn't a lucky number."

PC Jackson said the training had been the toughest and most physically demanding 20 weeks of their lives. She said they had sweated profusely when they had been given the police force's 900 page, 15lb 'Bible' and told to learn everything in it.

But she said they were determined to work hard as they "placed beautiful silver bracelets" on people's wrists.

PC Jackson insisted: "We will not let our community down."

The no. 72 recruits are Dinell Bean, Dawrae Gibbons, Barbie Harris, Leanda Johnston, K'Wonde Lathan, Joanne Raposo, Tiffani DeSilva, Andrea Jackson, Kyle Outerbridge, Gavin Richardson, Courtney Simmons, Linnell Williams and Che Young.

The recruit foundation course also made a $2,770 donation to their charity of choice, the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

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