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New volunteer police cadet unit means 200 teenagers are helping their communities


Volunteer Police Cadet

A new volunteer police cadet unit based at Henbury School in Bristol will bring the number of young people serving communities across the Avon and Somerset policing area to more than 200.

Avon and Somerset Police introduced the volunteering scheme for teenagers aged 14 to 17 in 2011.

Since the first unit opened in Downend, South Gloucestershire, we have recruited 236 cadets for units based in Taunton, Street, Bath, Churchill, Hartcliffe and Speedwell.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens will join family and friends in Henbury to see the new cadets welcomed into the police family by Bristol’s Area Commander Jon Reilly on Tuesday February 4 2014.

As well as hearing from Chief Superintendent Reilly, the young people will have the chance to hear the experiences of some of the South Gloucestershire cadets, plus a Crime Scene Investigator.

After initial training, cadets get involved in a range of activities and have the chance to patrol with regular officers as well as going behind the scenes to learn about all aspects of policing.

Cadets have been involved in:

  • Talking to the public while out and about, in shopping centres - or even on the bus - to give them security advice such as downloading tracking apps onto smart phones or registering valuables at www.immobilise.com
  • Checking car parks for vehicles which have been left insecure or with valuables on view
  • Helping officers engage with young people at events
  • Raising money for charity by taking on sponsored challenges or packing bags for donations at supermarket checkouts

They have also learned personal safety, first aid and search techniques and taken part in team-building and social activities.

Young people involved in the scheme have found the public react in a really positive way.

Devante Charles, 17, of the Bath and North East Somerset unit said: “The activities we undertake are both very engaging and rewarding as you are giving back to the community, which is what policing is all about.”

Joseph Peppard, 15, of the Street unit, said: “I enjoy everything we as cadets do and I feel the opportunities we have been granted are exceptional. I have developed personal confidence and learnt a great deal. It has been an amazing experience. You can meet people, make friends and have fun … this experience is an enjoyable way to build yourself as a person.”

Danielle Ash, 17, of Bristol, said: "People seem curious about what our aims are but they seem welcoming to the idea of cadets."

C/Supt Reilly said: “These young people are giving their free time to help make Bristol safer. In return they’ll learn skills they can put to use now and in their future careers, whatever they may be. We’ll welcome them behind the scenes to find out about all the different roles within the police service, and we hope they will give us an insight into the needs and concerns of young people.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Avon and Somerset Police have a very strong Volunteer Police Cadet team and the launch of a unit at Henbury will be a valuable addition to the areas' local policing.

“Residents have told me of their appreciation for the cadets not only as a reassuring and visible presence but also for the difference they make in keeping local communities safe.

“It is inspiring to see young people take such passion and interest in policing. Joining the Police Cadets gives them real insight into the police service and allows them to make a difference in their community.”

The Avon and Somerset Volunteer Police Cadet scheme is run by police officers, police staff and volunteers in their spare time with other costs met through sponsorship.

The aims of the cadet scheme include:

  • promoting a practical understanding of policing among young people
  • encourage the spirit of adventure and good citizenship
  • support local policing priorities through volunteering and giving young people a chance to be heard
  • inspire young people to participate positively in their communities.

For more information about the Volunteer Police Cadet Scheme visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk

Posted on Tuesday 4th February 2014
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