A police superintendent has intervened to defend two young recruits to her force after online trolls mocked them for looking “12”.
In a picture posted online by Superintendent Helen Brear, new recruits Alfie and Noah can be seen standing proudly in uniform alongside another officer from West Yorkshire police.
In her post on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, Brear said: “Welcome Alfie and Noah to Kirklees District. New student officers as part of our Police Uplift programme.”
Scores of mocking comments came in response, targeting the recruits’ youthful appearance.
One ‘X’ user commented: “1000 per cent bullied at school” while another asked: “Has the pension got so bad that they have to start at 12?”
Another wrote: “What happens when the six-week school holidays are over?” Someone else said: “Should I be letting the NSPCC know about this?”
Brear responded the following day that she had been “incredibly disappointed” by some of the responses to her picture.
“Both of my colleagues passed the recruitment process and displayed they had the skills/ abilities. Both will make great cops and I as their leader will ensure they reach their potential,” she said.
She received support online from other senior figures in policing, including Chief Superintendent Chris Casey from British Transport Police, who posted an “eye-rolling” emoji in response to the mocking comments.
“Huge welcome to policing Noah and Alfie! A job like no other!” Casey said. “I recall starting as a very young-looking 18 year old special [constable] at Aston Police — a steep learning curve, but looking young didn’t hold me back.”
Caroline Goode, a retired detective superintendent, said: “They will get plenty of stick on the streets for looking young, much as I did. Some people may feel they can take liberties and quickly find out they were mistaken. They will do just fine.
“Wish them luck from an oldie, tell them enjoy their youthful looks while they can.”
Student police officers must be 18 to join the force, but can apply aged 17.
Successful trainees gain a degree at the end of a three-year course, which involves a mixture of classroom learning and practical experience.
(Source: The Times)