How Victoria's life was turned around by joining the cadets
As we prepare to launch Dorset’s first volunteer police cadet unit, we hear from a teenage girl who says her life has been turned around by joining a cadets unit in another part of the country.
The scheme, set up by the Bournemouth’s Bourne Academy, Dorset Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Dorset, will start taking its first recruits this summer.
Young people aged 13-17½ and from a wide range of backgrounds across Bournemouth are invited to come forward, and anyone interested should go here for more information.
This is what Victoria Delahunt said about her experiences with her local cadets unit in Leicestershire.
Volunteer Police Cadets shows the public that kids can do more than just cause trouble.
Young people are often seen as troublesome - that’s everywhere in the media. Cadets challenges that perspective, and shows they can actually help others and can have as much impact as adults.
I live in an area of Leicester where there’s a lot of crime.
There’s constantly police around, and you see the damage that crime causes firsthand.
But hardly anyone around there would want to join the police force.
I signed up to cadets because I wanted to make a difference.
I was 13 when I discovered it through social media, just exploring online.
When people find out I’m a Volunteer Police Cadet they suddenly understand that I’m not vulnerable - I stand up for something. That makes me stronger, too.
We help out at events like Diwali and Pride, which I’ve done three years in a row now.
I like being part of those, because you’re really engaging with the public, even sometimes breaking language barriers.
As a higher ranking cadet I’m responsible for making sure all our volunteers are safe, and helping members of the public if they have problems. People come up and thank you for your support.
You can even dance and sing, if you want to!
We also do beat surgeries, where we meet members of the public.
They can drop in and tell us what the community’s issues are.
Whether that’s youths on motorbikes causing trouble or people growing cannabis farms, we’re a friendly first point of contact for everyone. Both adults and kids feel they can come and talk to us.
If there were no cadets, I think more young people would be getting into trouble.
Voluntary Police Cadets brings people together and helps them give something back to their community. It’s also about teaching new generations the best values.
More and more young volunteers are joining Police Cadets.
Hopefully I’ll become part of the police force; I want to become a PCSO, then work my way up from there. I’d like to work in the dogs section, as I love animals.
But I’ll definitely still be a cadet leader, wherever I end up in the police. I still want to support younger generations.
There are no words to explain what cadets means to me.
My self-confidence has grown massively since I joined. I can’t really explain it. I’ve gone from being a shy person who got bullied to someone who knows how to stand their ground.