Student Pc who joined up at beginning of first lockdown - and juggled duties with arrival of new baby - gets invite to Downing Street

A student Pc who started his career as the pandemic first took hold – and juggled his duties with becoming a dad for the second time – has visited Downing Street in recognition of the selfless efforts of officers, staff and volunteers at Northumbria Police.
Pc Ben Waites at Downing StreetPc Ben Waites at Downing Street
Pc Ben Waites at Downing Street

Pc Ben Waites joined colleagues from across the country after being chosen to represent the force at the reception in London.

Each police force was asked to nominate one deserving frontline officer to attend the event to thank public workers for their efforts during the pandemic response.

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Having balanced becoming a dad for the second time, training to become a qualified Pc and serving the communities of Sunderland and South Tyneside, Pc Waites was selected to represent the force.

The 33-year-old, who joined the force in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, said: “It was an absolute privilege to attend Downing Street and represent Northumbria Police. It hasn’t really sunk in, to be honest.

“There are so many officers, staff and volunteers that do such fantastic work every single day, so I’m honoured to have even been considered. It’s something I will never forget.”

Chief Constable Winton Keenen was full of praise for Pc Waites and his colleagues, who he said continue to go above and beyond while serving their communities.

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He said: “Pc Waites has made a really big impression in the short time he has been with us and has shown he is clearly very passionate about making a difference to people’s lives. He is a fantastic representative of the selfless officers, staff and volunteers we have here in Northumbria Police.

“It has been a challenging time for everyone and like so many others we have had to adapt our ways of working to ensure we continue to provide the very best service possible.”

He added: “We have an exceptional group of people across the entire force. They always rise to the challenge in support of our communities and each other and never has this been more evident than throughout the recent pandemic.

“This being said, we could not have achieved even a fraction of what we have, without the fantastic support we receive from the public. So, I would like to place on record my thanks and admiration for the part our communities continue to play in such a cohesive approach towards recovery from the pandemic.”

Southern Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, is delighted with contribution Pc Waites has made since joining the force.

She said: “He has had a hugely successful start to his career, but it’s also been a challenging year after becoming a father for the second time and having to juggle work commitments with trips to the hospital.

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“Despite that, he has approached every day with a smile on his face – working non-stop throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has also had time to maintain his excellent results at university.”

She added: “Our police officers come to work each day knowing they could be faced with challenging scenarios – and Pc Waites has rose to the challenge and shown an infectious enthusiasm, positive attitude and undoubted ability throughout.

“This was perfectly encapsulated earlier this year when, entirely off his own back, he recorded an engaging four-minute educational video for reception class pupils at a local school teaching them all about police cars and how we keep people safe.

“It was an outstanding piece of neighbourhood policing and showed his desire to be part of the local community. I would like to thank Pc Waites for his continued efforts – and he richly deserved the opportunity to represent the Force in Downing Street.”

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A busy few months lie ahead for PC Waites who is putting the final touches to his student portfolio – with the hope of becoming a fully-qualified officer by the start of next year.