Why did you become a cadet? I have a large family and growing up I have always seen my older family members caring for the younger ones. That instinct to be helpful and kind-hearted has stayed with me, as this is what I have always seen at home. I decided that I did not only want to help my family, but I would also love to guide other young people in my community that may not be as privileged to have such strong role models. The cadet scheme gave me that opportunity.
What skills do you bring to the role and what does being a cadet involve? I think I bring rational thinking, a different perspective (as a young person), reasoning and the ability to work well with young people as I am a qualified peer mentor.
As a cadet you get the chance to take part in a wide range of activities including camping, first aid, survival skills, award schemes such as Jack Petchey and Duke of Edinburgh, learning about the law, leafleting in communities and test purchasing. Test purchasing involves going into a shop undercover with a trading standards officer and a police officer to buy ‘over 18’ items. This particular activity makes shop keepers more aware of the potential danger of selling tobacco, alcohol and knives to underage costumers to reduce anti-social behaviour and knife crime.
What have you gained from being a cadet? I think that I have learnt how to use my most powerful tool, my mouth! I have learnt how to verbally communicate with different people about different things. Also I have been able to use quick thinking and other techniques we learn as part of the programme, even when off duty, to deal with everyday life.
What is the reality of volunteering like compared to what you had expected? I won’t lie. Although I have a passion to help others, I had a thought in my head telling me I would not have a social life after joining as volunteering would take up so much time. However, I’ve found that one of the best things about being a volunteer is that you choose when you can help and when you can’t so you can also keep other commitments and friends after joining.
What is your proudest achievement as a cadet? I’m so proud I really couldn’t choose one.
My proudest achievements would be:
Being responsible for the arrest of a man in my local area who I had witnessed breaking into cars. He was later convicted of multiple car thefts. I had seen the man breaking into cars in the early hours of the morning and reported it. From my time with the cadets I knew I had to give an accurate description of who and what I had seen. I also kept watch while officers arrived so that I could direct them to the property he was in. I received a commendation award for my actions from the borough commander.
Another was when I managed to detain two men in a shop after they started fighting. I gave a statement and assisted the police enquiries to gather information on what had happened.
A third is when I became the head cadet of my borough.
What is the best thing about volunteering? The endless amount of opportunities that become available to you once you join. There is so much you can get involved in. As cadets we take part in test purchases, crowd control and trooping the colour parades to name just a few.
What’s the biggest challenge? I’m not sure, I wouldn’t say there are any big challenges.
What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for the police? DO IT! It looks amazing on any application form as it allows employers to see that you are a trustworthy, ambitious, adaptable individual that can bring experience and knowledge to their organisation or group.