A trainee police officer is hoping to use his extensive knowledge of Hastings to tackle the challenges facing the town as he prepares to take on his new role.
Ben Carslake, who is currently training ahead of joining the Hastings response team in November, has lived in the town since the age of ten.
Now 26, the former William Parker student is one of 72 trainee police constables to be employed by Sussex Police – paid for out of the council tax policing precept increase in Sussex.
Speaking after he met with Kit Malthouse, the minister of state for crime, police and the fire service, at Sussex Police’s headquarters, in Lewes, Ben said: “(Being based in Hastings) has its pros and cons. It helps that I know the area. I know the good parts and I know the bad parts. That can help me to build a bit of a rapport.
“When I’m speaking to people who tell me I don’t understand what it’s like, I can say ‘well I do actually, because I live here’.
“Hastings has got its challenges but I love living here. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Ben moved to Hastings from London at the age of ten and finished lower school at Silverdale, before moving on to William Parker and Sussex Coast College.
Straight out of college, he said he knew he wanted to do something with the emergency services and soon became a special constable in Hastings.
He balanced that role alongside two years at the South East Coast Ambulance Service as a prevention support and engagement officer supporting the Hastings policing prevention team.
Despite his time with the ambulance service, he said the police was where he wanted to end up.
He added: “I wanted to work for the emergency services from a young age. I left school and went into healthcare and from healthcare I joined the ambulance service.
“I loved the ambulance service but I know I wanted to join the police. On my rest days, I picked up one or two shifts with the police to get my knowledge up and now I’m just excited to do this all my career.
“It’s cheesy but I just want to help my community. The police see things everyday that most people would never see. When people are at their lowest they turn to us and to know we can help fix their problems in the time we are with them is amazing.
“Every day in this job is different. Once you come out of that briefing, you never know what is going to come through.”
In less than two months, Ben will be joining up with the B section response team, based in Hastings, responding to 999 calls.
As one of the new recruits at Sussex Police, he said he felt ‘privileged’ to have met Mr Malthouse at Sussex Police headquarters last Thursday.
Mr Malthouse said: “We have wasted no time in launching the national campaign to recruit 20,000 police officers, a priority of this government.
“We want to see people from all backgrounds in Sussex sign up to join the police force’s ranks.
“They must have one thing in common – a desire to protect communities, tackle crime and be a force for all.”
Sussex Police are currently recruiting as part of the 20,000 officers national campaign. If you are interested in joining up and training as a police officer, you can find out more and apply here: https://www.sussex.police.uk/police-forces/sussex-police/areas/careers/jobs/police-officers/ before midnight, Thursday, September 19.