Twenty-one new recruits proudly “passed out” during a special ceremony at police headquarters in Chelmsford.

They were welcomed into the force by chief constable Stephen Kavanagh, retired inspector Bill Potter QPS and Jo Turton, chief fire officer and chief executive of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

The officers have been put through their paces over the last 18 weeks as they trained to become police constables.

After pledging their commitment to serve the residents of Essex, they were welcomed into the force in front of their loved ones.

Mr Kavanagh thanked the officers for all of their hard work during their training and wished them well in their future roles.

He said: “I want to welcome our amazing police constables who are passing out today, watched by their family and friends.

“Congratulations to each and every one of you. Your journey as a team and as individuals has been immense.

“Ladies and gentleman, we are lucky to be policing such a diverse and unique county consisting of different communities.

“You came together 18 weeks ago as 21 individuals with different backgrounds and different life experiences and that is what we need in policing today. Policing has changed over the years with new types of crime including hidden harms and online offences but it still holds the same values and you’re here today with your own unique experiences to help protect our county.”

The event saw PC Katie Atkinson awarded the Essex Police College Shield.

PC Janis Grants scooped both the Class Trophy and the Kirste Snellgrove student officer award for demonstrating the core values expected of a police constable.

During their training, the students also raised more than £1,500 for the charity, Kidney Cancer UK, by hosting a sports auction and a large raffle.