Lincoln graduates meet Down Under


For many people, a big move to a foreign country can mean leaving family and friends behind. But for alumni Joe Burr and Tom Freestone, a move to Australia was an opportunity to forge new friendships. Little did they know that on their first day in their new jobs, it would be a fellow Lincoln graduate who would be sat in the chair next to them, 9,000 miles away from home.

Joe (Left) and Tom both started training at the The Western Australia Police Academy in Joondalup in September, after a career move from their respective forces here in the UK.

“We did not know one another when we were at university, but by chance we independently started at the training academy on the same day," said Joe.

"We were seated next to one another, and when we got talking we realised that we had been at the University of Lincoln at the same time.” 


Applicants are put through testing in London which includes fitness tests and written tests as well as standard and psychological interviews. Those who pass this are then offered employment in Australia and are able to obtain a permanent residency visa. 

In early 2014 Joe came across information online that Western Australia Police were recruiting from the UK. He put in an application and fell in love with the idea of moving for a life of sunshine and the beach.

“Leaving Suffolk was a difficult call for me. It meant leaving some awesome family, friends and colleagues. However, once I received my contract from the Western Australia Police it was just too good an opportunity to miss,” said Joe.

“I feel lucky to have this new adventure, and owe a great deal to my upbringing and career development in Suffolk and my education in Lincolnshire.”

Joe graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2006 with a BA (Hons) in Advertising and Business. After a period working in business and marketing Joe came across a recruitment advert from Suffolk Constabulary looking for Police Constables. He joined the force in 2010.

“As much as I was enjoying work, I always admired the Police and thought I'd have a go. Not a predictable move for someone with my degree and employment background, but I genuinely think there are a number of parallels which can be drawn between them," said Joe.

Fellow alumnus Tom Freestone graduated from the University in 2005 after studying Criminology and Forensic Science. After graduating, Tom worked in various engineering and policing support roles before applying to join the Metropolitan Police as a constable. He spent 8 years with the force in Barnet before applying for his new role in Western Australia in April this year.

Like Joe, Tom’s decision to make the move was fuelled by the excitement of a new challenge and a change of scenery.

“I decided to come to Australia to try something new. I visited with my wife in 2012 and enjoyed it a lot. When I saw I could transfer from The Met I thought it was an opportunity too good to miss,” said Tom.

“I think it's a great environment to bring up our daughter - and have another one! Having been here a few months, I can honestly say I've had a great time. It's hard being away from my friends and family, but I've already made some great new friends.”

Aside from their new friendships Joe and Tom have also been sure to keep in touch with their old university friends, and both have organised reunions to catch up with everyone.

“I'm still in regular contact with many of the friends I made, and as recently as last year met up in Lincoln with the guys I played with in the football society. You may leave Lincoln at some point, but the memories and the people live on,” said Joe.

For Tom, before making the big move to Australia, regular reunions meant travelling all over the UK, again with football serving as a shared passion amongst his friends.

“We met up at least once every year to play football. We would meet up in a different town depending on where one of us was from and then play a football tournament," said Tom.

“At Lincoln I made some of the best friends I've ever had. We all came together to learn, to have independence and I feel like that bond made the friendship very special.” 

Joe and Tom have now completed their training and have graduated from the academy.




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Story credits: Adam Toyne

December 2015

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