The Volunteer Police Cadets is the nationally recognised police uniformed youth group throughout the UK. The purpose of the VPC is not to recruit police officers of the future, but to encourage the spirit of adventure and good citizenship amongst its members. The VPC believe that every young person deserves the opportunity to thrive regardless of his or her background, and encourage young people from all backgrounds to join the VPC, including those who may be vulnerable to the influences of crime and social exclusion.
Find out more at the National VPC website: https://vpc.police.uk/
Cadets are between the ages of 13 and 18 and attend weekly meetings of around two hours with their local cadet group during term time.
Guided by a volunteer cadet leader (who is either a member of police staff, special constable, PCSO, police officer or civilian volunteer), cadets undertake a structured training programme, and will reach a range of learning milestones before an attestation and passing out parade.
Cadets are provided with a uniform and are taught how to be disciplined and independent , with many carry out basic drill practices.
The activities carried out at meetings each week differ amongst forces but include inputs on law and a variety of policing areas. There are lots of opportunities to visit different departments within constabularies such as the Air Support Unit, Dog Section, Firearms Unit, Roads Policing and Scenes of Crime unit.
Schemes are also structured to allow volunteers to earn awards and qualifications such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award
Cadets are expected to volunteer an average of three hours per month working in their communities on crime prevention and social action projects. These include helping local officers with leaflet drops, crime prevention initiatives and test purchasing operations, or assisting with local events such as carnivals, county shows and remembrance parades.
Cadets between the ages of 16 and 18 can take active roles in mentoring the younger group members by becoming cadet leaders and have the chance to work towards a formal policing qualification.
Those aged 18+ are also offered training in leadership, communication and presentation skills to enter the next stage of their volunteer journey by becoming a cadet Leader.
Why become a cadet?
At the very heart of the cadet scheme is a sense of community and citizenship. Cadets have an opportunity like no other to develop skills, learn, take part in exciting events and most importantly, have fun!
The national scheme now offers an accredited curriculum, providing evidence for CVs and skills to improve employability. It provides the chance to meet new people, helps individuals make positive life choices and enables them to influence the shape of their community.
Cadets are invited to take part in exciting events and to take on challenges with other constabularies. Some forces even offer the chance to participate in projects and events overseas.
Who can apply?
Any young person can apply after their 13th birthday. Each police force has their own application criteria but all aim to be as inclusive as possible and to represent all areas of their communities.
Cadets are from all walks of life and the national scheme aims to make up 25% of its membership from those from vulnerable backgrounds.
Some forces will require applicants to go through a vetting process, please enquire with your local force for details.
Submit an application of interest on the National VPC website: https://vpc.police.uk/be-a-cadet/application-of-interest/