The new Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke, will be going back to his old school to talk to pupils about modern day policing.
Chief Constable Cooke started at St Francis Xavier’s College in Woolton in 1975 and after finishing his A-levels there he went on to study a degree in politics at Nottingham University.
After being awarded his degree Mr Cooke, who had set his heart on being a police officer as a child, joined Merseyside Police in 1985 as a constable on the beat in the Kensington area. He became a detective in 1989 and since then he has worked his way through the ranks as a detective at every level.
During his visit to the school Chief Constable Cooke will meet with teachers at the school and will be given a tour of their state-of-the art facilities which were completed last year. He will then be introduced to pupils from years 7 to 12 about policing on Merseyside and policing as a career of choice.
Mr Cooke will be joined by PC Michael Gormely, who has just joined the force as a police officer and is also an ex-pupil from St Francis Xavier. PC Gormely, like Mr Cooke, has aspired to be a police officer since completing his sports degree course at Liverpool John Moores University. When he left university Michael went in to retail and two-and-a-half years ago he decided to pursue his career of choice. The force wasn’t recruiting police officers at the time so he decided to join the force as a Police Community Support Officer.
PC Gormely, who will be attested along with 20 other student officers next Tuesday and is married with a 20-month-old daughter, said: “I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was about 22 years of age and in 2013 I made the decision to become a PCSO with the ultimate goal of becoming a police officer. I really enjoyed my time as a PCSO and was able to see how the force can make a difference to people’s lives. The police service offers a real variety of roles and over the next few years I want to learn as much as I can about the different roles around the force and then decide on a specialism where I know I will be able to make a real difference. It has been a huge sense of achievement for me being taken on as a police officer, I wasn’t able to get in straight away, but by becoming a PCSO I was able to get a good understanding of the job and see how we can help our communities. This isn’t just a career for me, it’s a vocation and I can’t wait to get my training done and get out in to the community.”
Chief Constable Cooke, said: “I’m delighted to be able to go back to St Francis Xavier’s which played a vital part in my formative years and was instrumental in giving me a solid educational grounding. I was by no means a grade A, perfect student, but the school helped to focus my mind on what I wanted and I was able to achieve the grades I needed to get me to university.
“I was quite young when I decided that I wanted to be a police officer and I never wavered in my choice of career and I applied to become a police officer in my last few months at University. I was absolutely delighted when Merseyside Police took me on and I have relished my last 30 years in the force.
“I have enjoyed every one of my 31 years in the police and I firmly believe that this is one of the best, if not the best job in the world.”
He added: “I wanted to go back to St Francis Xavier’s today to give something back to the school which helped me on my way and also to see how things have changed since I was there. I know that the school recently opened its new state-of-the art building and the days of chalk and blackboards are well and truly gone, it will be fascinating to see how technology is integrated in to the day-to-day life of the school.
“Hopefully whilst I’m there I may be able to demonstrate to some of the pupils the fantastic opportunities that policing can offer as a career. I never set out with the aim of being the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police and I still have to pinch myself to remind myself that I am.
“I am really proud to be the Chief Constable of the city and county where I grew up and if I can encourage others to join the force and to protect the communities they serve locally it’s a job well done. St Francis Xavier’s has always prided itself on its links with local community and pupils have an inherent understanding of the importance of community, which is similar to the ethos at Merseyside Police.
“Most people join the police because they want to make a difference, they want to make their communities safe and they care about the area where they live. I want to keep that community spirit alive and ensure that we work together to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
Headteacher of St Francis Xavier, Les Rippon, said: “We are very proud of Andy Cooke’s achievements as a former pupil. He is very much a role model for our students and has lived out the College Mission statement of ‘life in all its fullness’. He has demonstrated to our young people the importance of having an aim in life and being determined to achieve it by overcoming challenges on the way. He has shown the importance of determination, hard work and self- belief.
“Andy Cooke is an excellent role model and one to which our students look up to.
“We are extremely grateful to Andy for visiting school today and for spending time with the young people who are the future of our city. We all wish him well in his new position and look forward to him visiting the school again in the not too distant future.”
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