Work with the Chief Constable to create a police cadet scheme
The national Volunteer Police Cadet (VPC) Scheme aims to encourage good citizenship in young people by providing them with an opportunity to engage with local policing priorities and support the communities in which they live. Young people from all backgrounds are encouraged to join, including those who may be most vulnerable to the influences of crime and social exclusion. For this reason, VPC schemes can provide Forces with an opportunity to provide key crime prevention advice to young people, as well as the potential to positively influence behaviour. Dorset Police was the only remaining Force in England and Wales without a cadet scheme. The Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Chief Constable for Dorset were committed to introducing a VPC Scheme within Dorset, having been impressed with the results from other areas. This was supported by the principal of Bourne Academy, who had identified a growing interest among pupils, parents and other residents of the local area.
Starting in autumn 2018, the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC) set about introducing the county’s first unit, with the assistance of the national VPC team and in close liaison with staff at Bourne Academy.
The OPCC successfully secured start-up funds from the national team, agreed use of an exceptional venue and recruited adult volunteers to lead the unit. It was intended to launch the scheme with a unit of around 30 young people, however twice that number applied within the first few weeks. Consequently, a decision was taken to immediately implement a second unit.
The OPCC, ably assisted by the adult volunteers, ran induction sessions during the early summer of this year and a number of the cadets attended the Force’s Family Fun Day in July 2019. The early feedback from the cadets, as well as their parents and guardians, has been universally positive. The units were formally launched in September 2019, and the OPCC has now handed the scheme to the Force so that it can become part of business as usual.
The intention is that, in the months ahead, the Force will identify further locations for new units.