Bristol’s cuddliest copper, Chief Inspector Andy ‘Gordon’ Bennett, wants to set up his own cop cadet force!
I have long been a fan of the Volunteer Police Cadets, having been shown a group set up by an inspirational local beat manager PC Zoë Knight, during my time working in Peckham.
The core of the weekly meeting is some drill, a guest speaker and an activity that promoted leadership, team working and citizenship. At the weekend, some cadets would work with the beat managers at local events, leaflet dropping linked to crime reduction and adding weight and enthusiasm to community action.
Dressed in a simple uniform, polished boots and beret there can be some real pride in a mantra of making communities stronger and safer. We could link into the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme as a structure for activities. It could also stand as an excellent recruitment ground for Specials, PCSOs and officers of the future.
Our blogging beatpounder has already mooted the idea with the ‘Safer Stronger Neighbourhood teams’ (where it “met with unanimous approval which convinces me that I am not completely bonkers”), and is now looking to get some feedback from humble civilians.
Can’t say I’ve ever heard of ‘Volunteer Police Cadets’ before, but apparently there’s more than a thousand of them in London, with similar programmes of uniformed frolics operating across more than a dozen forces.