A Greater Manchester Police apprentice is swapping his office role for the rugby field.
Nineteen-year old, Jimmy Connaughton from Rochdale has been selected to play in the GB Police Rugby League Team.
He will join 19 other squad members to represent the country against two teams when they travel to Vancouver, Canada from 18 September to 2 October.
The team will play against the Canadian Wolverines and the New Zealand Police Force. They will be led by head coach Gareth Pratt from Littleborough and team manager Chris Cowling from West Yorkshire Police.
Jimmy said: “It is a real honour to represent GMP and the country as part of team GB. I have been playing rugby since I was seven years old so going forward I am using all of my skills learnt over the years in the matches I will play.
“We have already started the season on some wins after playing a tough game against the Prison Service. I’m just hoping that we can draw on this success going forward for our matches in Canada.”
Jimmy has played rugby from an early age and teams he has played for include Rochdale Mayfield Amateur Rugby League team and Hopwood Hall College where he studied uniformed services.
Gareth Pratt, head coach, said: “James is a real asset to the team. He is a determined and skilful young man with a good rugby league background.
“He has been developing well at his local amateur club and since coming into the GB squad he has shown the qualities I am looking for in a player. He has an excellent attitude and work ethic.
“From my point of view young players like Jimmy add to the development of the squad and I look forward to the skills they will bring when the team goes on tour later this month.”
Jimmy, first joined GMP in October last year as an apprentice. During this period he has worked in the Force Intelligence Branch and the teenager has been provided with the opportunity to shadow various intelligence departments as part of his development. The experience has proved valuable as he is due to start a new role as an intelligence officer on his return from his trip to Canada.
Sergeant Trevor Eaton from Greater Manchester Police, manages Jimmy, he said: “He is a real asset to the organisation and has shown a real interest in developing himself and learning. Jimmy has even helped integrate a new IT system while a part of the team.
“I want to wish him and his team all the luck for their tour this month.”
Jimmy is now looking forward to his future at the force and the opportunities it holds for him. He said: “I am just enjoying my time in the force and am learning new things each day. I want to be able to enhance my skills and maybe one day join the front line and become a police officer.”