In the Beginning ……….
On the 6th April 1989, the Barking & Dagenham Volunteer Police Cadets held their first ever cadet meeting at the Adult Training Centre in Gascoigne Rd, Barking. Thirty young people from the borough became the first Police Cadets in North London and we are now proud to say we are the longest running Volunteer Police Cadet unit in the whole of London and in September this year when our numbers swell from 105 at full capacity to 130 we will also become one of the largest units in the capital.
Things have moved on considerably since our launch in 1989, including our meeting place which is now Eastbury School in Barking on Tuesday evenings and Sydney Russell School in Dagenham on Thursday evenings.
To support Vulnerable young people: by including a minimum of 25% cadets from backgrounds vulnerable to crime or social exclusion, making sure we offer opportunities to those who need them the most.
Adding value to Policing in London: involve cadets in supporting operational policing in London, actively listen to and consult with our young people, ensure they are drivers for positive change at every level of our organisation.
Building confidence in Communities: ensure our cadets are representative of London's diversity, involving them in delivering key messages to all our communities, supporting things that matter to the people of London
Volunteer Police Cadets at Hendon
SO WHAT DO WE ACTUALLY DO?
- Attend weekly meetings where the cadets learn about the role of the police, how the criminal justice system works, basic law including Stop & Search, Offensive Weapons and Theft. Guest speakers from other specialist police departments and partnership organisations are also invited to give talks and presentations. The cadets are encouraged to develop good teamwork and leadership skills by the Cadet Leaders, all of whom are serving police officers, retired police officers, police staff, Met Police Specials or Met Volunteers. Each weekly meeting concludes with 45 minutes of physical training, usually team games such as 5 a side football, handball, indoor hockey and dodge-ball.
- Supporting the police locally and in Central London is perhaps the most enjoyable and exciting part of being a cadet. Our cadets regularly volunteer anything up to 1,000 hours per month, assisting with crime prevention leaflet drops, property marking events and even major Central London events such as the London Marathon, the Lord Mayors Show and Notting Hill Carnival.
Volunteer Police Cadets at the Lord Mayors Show
- Last year we assisted at the Royal Wedding and had a prime posting on Horse Guards Parade. This year has been exceptional with our young people working alongside local police officers at the Queens Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace and the Royal Jubilee Procession as it passed St James's Park. We have also assisted with Olympic duties and were very proud to have one of our own cadets, Connor Green, carry the Olympic Torch through Dagenham.
Cadet Connor Green, proud bearer of the Olympic Torch
- Enrolled on the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme where the cadets have the opportunity to put their volunteering hours to good use and gain an internationally recognised qualification. We also have cadet leaders who are qualified to run the Award Expeditions and train the cadets in outdoor skills such as map reading, navigation, camp craft, outdoor cooking skills, understanding weather conditions and first aid. All of the cadets are given the opportunity to take part in Expeditions and also enjoy other outdoor activities at our summer camps.
Cadets on the Duke of Edinburgh expedition
Cadets enjoy water sports in the Peak District
DO YOU HAVE TO WANT TO BE A POLICE OFFICER TO JOIN?
Not necessarily and not all of the police cadets go on to join the Metropolitan Police Service.
However, three or four years of volunteering and commitment to the VPC does look pretty good on a young persons CV regardless of their eventual career choice. It really can be a life changing experience, building self confidence, self discipline, leadership skills and a whole new circle of friends all with a common interest.
The cadets get the opportunity to see and do things that most teenagers, indeed most people, will never have the chance to do. The dedicated staff and officers from Barking & Dagenham Police are committed to developing the young people from the Borough into responsible, confident, community minded and energetic adults with the skills to take them forward into the workplace and become productive and fulfilled members of their community.