A newly qualified Bideford police officer is urging anyone thinking about applying for the force to take the leap.

PC Laura Watson spoke to the Gazette this week ahead of a recruitment event being held by Devon and Cornwall Police at Bideford College on April 21, 10am-2.30pm.

The event is open to all but the force is encouraging applications from under-represented groups.

Response officer PC Watson said she had always fancied a career in law, but didn’t enjoy university and decided to join the Special Constabulary.

“I did five years volunteering with them and absolutely loved it; I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life,” she said.

“I applied once unsuccessfully and then I had a successful application; in the middle of the process I found out I was expecting a baby.

“It seemed like a lot to take on but I looked at other people who do this job and have families and knew I could do it.

“I sat my exam when I was 30 weeks pregnant and after my maternity leave I took my fitness test and then had 18 weeks of traning at HQ in Middlemoor.

“Training was harder than I expected but I loved it and I made friends for life.”

After her training was complete, PC Watson joined the professional development unit where she received on-the-job training from a mentor.

She left the unit in January and has been working as a response officer ever since, as she completed her two-year probation.

She said: “After the two years that is when more opportunities will open up, but I really enjoy the response work.

“It is hard work but you can do so much in this job and you are so well supported too.

“I think responding to incidents has been my favourite part so far; to be able to step into a moment of chaos and create order.

“You can be attending someone’s worst day of their life but you can make it more bearable and provide support.

“If anyone is contemplating applying, I would say go for it.”

Anyone wishing to attend the open day at Bideford College must book in advance for the day where they can speak to officers in various different roles, and learn about the recruitment process and police officer training.

Apply for a place at the event before April 15 by emailing positiveaction@dc.police.uk.