Why did you become a cadet? I chose to become a volunteer because a friend of mine at the time was a police cadet. I thought it would be a fun hobby to do with my friend and also teach me more about policing. Little did I know it would be the best decision I’ve ever made.
What skills do you bring to the role and what does being a cadet involve? I don’t feel like I brought a lot to the role at the beginning. I was quite a shy person who wasn’t very confident and hated speaking in front of people and I had never really pushed myself to overcome that. I hope that now, I contribute a lot of positivity and hard work to the group and like to support other cadets who are new to the scheme.
Being a cadet involves attending a weekly session. For me it is a Thursday evening. Every week we have an input on law and once a month we have a sports night. Sometimes we have talks from officers or staff from policing areas such as the Dog Unit. We have visits to police departments such as the custody centre and we assist at local events such as the Suffolk show and music festivals.
What have you gained from being a cadet? I have gained a massive insight into different areas of policing. It’s influenced my career and inspired me to go to university to study policing and criminal investigation. I’ve also gained a lot of skills, I feel as though I have grown massively as a person and become more confident.
What is the reality of volunteering like compared to what you had expected? For me, volunteering is ten times more rewarding than I thought it would be. Every time I wear my uniform I feel a huge sense of pride. You’re no longer the average person; you’re someone that people turn to when they need help or information. When I used to hear about volunteering it sounded more like a chore, something to do to make your CV look good, but it is so much more. Being able to help people or make a positive contribution to the community is so valuable.
What is your proudest achievement as a cadet? While being a police cadet I have had many opportunities to push myself out of my comfort zone, and this means I couldn’t possibly just choose one achievement.
I think my top three achievements would be battling my fear of public speaking by presenting a speech to my cadet group as to why I should be our senior cadet and then pursuing that role. Secondly would be receiving the ‘Cadet of the Year’ award last year and thirdly, would be receiving my detective chief superintendent’s commendation for my involvement in an operation with the Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit.
What is the best thing about volunteering? I think the best thing about volunteering for the police is definitely the experience. I have had so many opportunities while being a cadet that I wouldn’t have even been aware of or dreamed of doing if I hadn’t have joined.
What’s the biggest challenge? The biggest challenge I have faced is communication, which is more than just speaking to somebody in a conversation. It’s being able to take charge of situations, listen to others well, approach members of the public and knowing how to respond when they approach you.
I once had a child approach me at a big event and tell me they had lost their parent and it was my responsibility to act on that appropriately. It is quite daunting to begin with but it is something you must tackle head on. Also, presenting to my peers is something which makes me feel very uncomfortable, but it is a challenge I have had to face because I am aware that it will be something that will quite often appear later in my life, and avoiding it will only make it harder.
What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for the police? Don’t let anything hold you back and keep pushing yourself. That is possibly one of the biggest things I have learnt because an achievement feels so much more rewarding after you know you had to take yourself out of your comfort zone to do it. Don’t ever let yourself be too comfortable because that way you aren’t going to learn the most you can from a situation.