SUSSEX Police have welcomed a further 72 new constables – the force’s largest intake in a decade.

This boosts the total number of new recruits in the past year to 270.

Most of the cost has been covered by last year’s council tax increase, the force says.

The new recruits were welcomed at a ceremony at the Amex Stadium in Falmer last week.

They have just started 15 weeks of intensive training and will join policing teams across the county in June.

The force could not specify where in Sussex the new officers would be based.

New recruit PC Nathan Wells, who has five years’ experience as a police contact handler and force controller in Surrey, said he was looking forward to giving back to the community.

He said: “I joined Sussex Police to help those in need.

“I want to be that public figure people know they can go to.

“I am looking forward to coming home after a hard day’s work and knowing I’ve made a positive impact on a person’s life.”

New recruit PC Fareesha Campin has run her own charity, but said she had always hoped to become a police officer.

She said: “I believe now the time is right.

“I want to use the skills I’ve gained with charities working with both vulnerable adults and children to help people in communities in Sussex.”

Another recruit, law graduate Sophie King, said: “I want to make more of an active difference to my community in Brighton and Hove.

“When I was younger I always looked up to the police, and I think it’s really important for me now to be a positive role model to the children within my community.”

Assistant Chief Constable Nick May said: “I was delighted to personally welcome the 72 new officers at the ceremony and launch them on their new careers.

“As assistant chief constable for local policing, I am pleased to see so many new officers who will be joining policing teams across Sussex in June 2019.

“This is our largest recruitment of constables in a decade and is part of an ongoing recruitment of over 800 officers in the next three years, resulting in a growth of 200 new officers by 2022.

“This game-changing increase in recruitment, made possible by the increase in the council tax policing precept, will make a difference to the communities of Sussex, improving our visibility and strengthening local policing where most needed.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I am pleased to see another 72 warranted officers welcomed into Sussex Police this week as they continue on their four-year recruitment drive made possible by the support from local taxpayers.

“With an extra 250 officers, 50 specialist investigators and 100 police community support officers in Sussex Police’s recruitment plans, the public can be reassured that their investment will be spent in further strengthening local policing.

“I look forward to meeting this new cohort of officers and following their training and deployment as they acquire the unique skills and experience so valued by our local communities.”