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One year on – Volunteer Police Cadet Scheme celebrates first anniversary

Cambridgeshire’s first-ever volunteer police cadet scheme which encourages young people to make a difference in their community is celebrating its first anniversary.

The Peterborough Volunteer Police Cadet Unit was launched at the town’s Thomas Deacon Academy on November 4 2014 as part of a long-term strategy by Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright to increase opportunities for young people to play a proactive role in their communities and divert disadvantaged youngsters away from crime.

More than 30 enthusiastic cadets, aged between 14 and 16, signed up to the inaugural scheme, each completing an intensive induction programme before qualifying for duty in a special passing-out ceremony in January.

In the last six months alone, the cadets have completed more than 500 volunteering hours supporting community events, delivering crime prevention advice and role-playing for trainee police officers.

The scheme, which promotes self-confidence and independence and gives young people greater responsibility for community safety, has been so successful that other Cadet units have since launched in Wisbech, Soham and Cambourne.

To celebrate the first anniversary of the Unit, the cadets will be presented with certificates and pens by Chief Constable Alec Wood during an event attended by Supt Melanie Dales and Sir Graham. A special cake is also being made to mark the occasion.

Speaking ahead of the anniversary, Sir Graham said: “I am incredibly proud of the work that has been achieved in the first 12 months of our very first Volunteer Police Cadet Unit.

“This scheme has proven how important it is to give young people a platform to do good for their communities and to challenge the negative perceptions some people hold against the younger generation.

“Thanks to the success of the pilot project in Peterborough, many more young people across Cambridgeshire are being given the chance to boost their confidence and discover their skills and talents which will set them on the right road for future success.

“I do not underestimate the value of the mentoring role played by our Volunteer Police Cadet Leaders who donate their time freely to inspire younger people to improve themselves and direct their energy into activities which benefit the wider public. Without their support, this scheme would not be what it is today and I am very grateful for their work and continued dedication.”