Dyfed-Powys Police which covers the Newtown and Welshpool areas has started a collaboration with Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and the Police and Crime Commissioner over training.
The new intake of student officers starting their training through the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) in September 2022 will be the first Welsh speaking new recruits to undertake as much of the training in Welsh as possible.
Student officers have a period where they are based in HQ for initial training, and a subsequent period where they’re trained ‘on the job’ within local policing areas. Throughout the initial period at HQ they have legal, practical and academic segments.
Chief Constable Dr Richard Lewis said: "The Welsh language is an integral part of the majority of communities we police in the Dyfed-Powys area, and it is extremely important for us to show respect for our Welsh-speaking communities by being able to offer them a completely bilingual policing service.
"We are extremely proud to be in a position to offer training through the medium of Welsh to the new recruits who will start their journey with us in September - so that they can be trained in their chosen language and be confident communicating in Welsh after their training.
"There will also be an expectation for those who can speak Welsh to support and encourage the non-Welsh speaking officers or learners so that they can also develop their Welsh language skills. This is a very exciting development for the force, and I am committed to doing everything possible to promote the Welsh language in Dyfed-Powys Police."
Dr Dafydd Trystan, registrar of the Coleg Cymraeg, said: “Developing a bilingual workforce is a key part of reaching the Welsh Government's target of one million Welsh speakers who use the Welsh language regularly.
"Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol is very proud to be collaborating with Dyfed Powys Police and the University of South Wales to expand the bilingual training available to prospective police officers. The proactive approach of Dyfed Powys Police, the Chief Constable and the Police Crime Commissioner is an example to be followed by others across the public sector.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn added: "I am very proud of the stages that we are taking to develop a bilingual workforce within Dyfed-Powys Police.
A high percentage of the population in the Dyfed-Powys area are first language Welsh speakers, and therefore we have a duty to ensure that we can undoubtedly provide a bilingual service, and that we have a workforce that has the skills to communicate with the public confidently in Welsh and English.
"I am very grateful to the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol for providing us with guidance and support in our planning phases to develop a Welsh-medium provision within police officer training programmes., and for supporting the vision of the Chief Constable and myself."
Throughout the subsequent period (years two and three) the student officers continue to have academic inputs with the requirement for them to engage in professional discussions with lecturers, and make academic submissions such as assignments and dissertations.
A high percentage of the population in the Dyfed-Powys area are first language Welsh speakers, and the police are committed to fulfilling a duty to ensure that they can provide a bilingual service to that community, and be able to communicate confidently with the public in Welsh or English.
Students will also be able to apply for bursaries from Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol where they can demonstrate that a third of their academic qualification is undertaken in Welsh.
Non-Welsh speaking or Welsh learner student officers will also have opportunities to develop their Welsh language skills through the provision of practical scenarios where they are required to engage in Welsh, additional workshops to develop their Welsh language skills, and the Welsh speaking student officers will act as mentors to them throughout the programme.