The Met's Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) celebrated 30 years at an exclusive awards ceremony held at Lawrence Hall, situated in the Royal Horticultural Halls, Westminster this weekend.
Over 500 Volunteer Police Cadets, aged between ten and 24, and their families attended the ceremony on Saturday, 11 February, along with Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt and former police cadets to mark this major milestone.
Guests at the event included National Volunteer Police Cadet's Director, Ed Sherry OBE; London's Director of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, Peter Fleet; Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in London, Sophie Linden; and representation from YOU (Youth Organisations in Uniform) London.
In addition to celebrating three decades of the VPC, a number of cadets received various awards including Co-ordinator of the Year, Junior Cadet of the Year and Cadet of the Year.
The VPC has grown considerably in the past few years with in excess of 5,000 young people now in cadet units across London's 32 boroughs.
Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, said: "It gives me great personal pride and pleasure to celebrate 30 years of Volunteer Police Cadets at the Met. What began as an idea to develop positive relationships between young people and the police has grown into a vibrant programme with over 5,000 young Londoners now taking part.
"As well as providing fantastic fun and development opportunities for the cadets themselves, they are a valuable asset to us, providing practical operational help as well as fresh insights. I very much hope and believe that the VPC will continue to flourish in the years to come."
The achievement of the VPC helps to make London safer by reducing youth vulnerability to crime through enhancing young people's ability to contribute and achieve. The VPC also assists young people in developing positive and proactive contact with the police on their own terms.
Nearly half of the cadets are young women and the VPC reflects the different social and ethnic backgrounds across London. The programme assists in raising the volume of the Voice of Youth programme in policing and community safety. The Voice of Youth programme has been designed to work in partnership with the Children's Commissioner's national one-day Takeover Challenge and offers cadets the opportunity to shadow a senior officer for a day. It actively enhances frontline policing by cadets participating in initiatives such as leaflet drops, property marking, crime prevention events and supporting the Met's overall policing objectives.
Last year, cadets volunteered an incredible 485,325 hours supporting Neighbourhood Policing Teams, helping at community-based events and charity fundraising. They also took part in a number of major London events including Notting Hill Carnival and Trooping the Colour.
Being a cadet is extremely rewarding giving participants the opportunity to study for qualifications like the Duke of Edinburgh Award and the chance to get involved in outward-bound adventures and camps. Plans are also underway to offer recognised youth qualifications to over 18s looking to volunteer in the programme. Cadets are also offered the chance to spend a day with senior officers as part of The Voice of Youth project programme.
Chief Superintendent Rob Atkin from the Met's Aviation Policing Command joined the cadets in 1989. He said: "I joined the VCC at Sydenham Police Station when I was just 14, with the ambition of one day becoming a police officer. During my time with the cadets I gained some fantastic experiences and hands-on experience of policing. I enjoyed activities including learning to drill, talks about traffic and firearms, camping trips to Betws-y-Coed and the Duke of Edinburgh award.
"During the Croatian conflict in the early 90s I even travelled to the area three times to deliver aid.
"My background in cadets has no doubt been critical in preparing me not for just the application process to join the Metropolitan Police Service but also an essential part of making me the officer I am today."
Rob achieved his original ambition when he was accepted as a regular with the MPS at the age of 18.
The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said: "These young Londoners do a fantastic job, supporting their city and helping to tackle crime. The Volunteer Police Cadet programme not only offers excellent opportunities for young people to learn and develop, but also helps to improve community relations and provides much needed support at events all over the capital. Over the last 30 years it has helped and inspired generations of young Londoners and I'm sure it will continue to do the same for many generations to come."
For more information about the Volunteer Police Cadets please visit http://content.met.police.uk/Site/cadets.
The MPS is actively seeking volunteers to help at cadet units across London, for more information please http://content.met.police.uk/Site/volunteerprogramme
Winners of the 2016 Awards are:
The winner of Cadet of the Year 2016 is Victoria Sullivan, from Hillingdon.
Her Co-ordinator comments: "She is inexhaustible. In the ten years that I have been running the VPC in Hillingdon I cannot recall another cadet who has been so committed and dependable. Victoria is an example to us all!"
The winner of Junior Cadet of the Year 2016 is Deven Dettani, from Redbridge.
The winner of Best New Recruit 2016 is Alisha Crowie, from Waltham Forest.
The winner of Co-ordinator of the Year 2016 is Doug Dewey from Hillingdon.
The winners of the Media Award 2016 are Olivia Stevens, Sam Simkins, and Kyle Thomas, all from Redbridge.
The winner of the Safer Neighbourhoods Award aged ten-15yrs is Adam Vallely, from Hammersmith and Fulham.
The winner of the Safer Neighbourhoods Award aged 16-19yrs is Mosam Patel, from Wandsworth.
The winner of the Special Recognition Award is Lamya Al-Risheq, from Kensington and Chelsea.
The winner of Staff of the Year 2016 is Tyler O'Hare from Hillingdon. Tyler is now a Police Constable on Lambeth Borough, after passing out at Hendon on 13 January.
The winner of the Presence and Performance Award aged ten-15yrs is Sazeda Khalil, from Newham.
The winner of the Presence and Performance Award aged 16-19yrs is Alexandra Dumitru, from Waltham Forest.
The winners of the Duke of Edinburgh Award are Harrow VPC Leaders Dan Rothery and Adrian Peacock.
The winner of the Special Recognition Award for Volunteer of the Year is Lindsay Kennedy from Kensington and Chelsea.
NOTES TO MEDIA
The VPC plays a vital role in YOU London, which strengthens the links between youth groups in London. London YOU is a key part of project Titan, the Mayor of London's plan to increase character and responsibility in young people. It will be launched pan-London in July and springs from a project in Croydon in 2007 led by the MPS. Partners include Air Training Corps, Army Cadet Force, Boys' Brigade, Girlguiding, LaSER, Sea Cadet Coprs, St Johns Ambulance, The Scout Association Greater London and Volunteer Police Cadets.
The history of the Volunteer Police Cadets:
The Volunteer Police Cadets, originally began as the Volunteer Cadet Corp (VCC) in 1987. From the outset, the programme was a huge success, aiming to recruit 30 young people. The programme consisted of outdoor events, which included camping trips to a cottage owned by the MPS in National Trust land near Betws-y-Coed, Wales as well as helping to renew the track at the Bluebell Railway, East Sussex.
From the first intake a number of people went on to pursue careers with the police, with some achieving senior rank.
In the early 90s, the VCC was rebranded as the VPC. Inspired by the success of the original programme, other boroughs started to set up units. By this time, the activities had become wider ranging. Outdoor trips included visits to New Scotland Yard, the old 999 control centre and the Thames Lifeboat Squad with a trip on the Commissioner's Launch. Caving and rock climbing were introduced - and even weasling, the activity of squeezing into small spaces.
Additional quotes from cadets:
Climbing a mountain was the hardest thing I've done. I'm lazy and scared of heights, so combining those two proved a challenge for me ! Thanks to cadets and staff I made it to the top (even though I refused to look down)." Claire
The events we steward as well as the people who attend - are vibrant, noisy and diverse and I love that !" Emma
"The best thing about the cadets is that it allows you to tap in to talents that you didn't even know you had. I am now able to speak in public." Jamilla
"I joined the cadets as I needed something productive to do and it had a good link to criminal Law which I was really interested in." Jade
"Before, I didn't know how to read a map or use a compass and I learned how to survive out in the open with bare essentials." Socrates
"Calling Drill for the first time was so difficult, it was a lot pressure, especially after seeing other members do it with such ease." Abi
"Cadets can provide a sense of belonging for people who may be lacking one in their families or communities." Kat
"The cadets want the chance to give back to the community as well as to portray a positive image of teenagers as they are often misjudged." Charis
"The competition was incredibly fun as well as competitive and gave me the chance to experience a small slice of what the police do on a daily basis." Jack
"Our Duke of Edinburgh expeditions were very challenging and we had to work as a team." Rebecca
"My favourite experience was helping at the rehearsal for the Trooping of the Colour." Abi
"I joined to change my direction in life. Also, as it would open a number of opportunities and look good on my CV." Daniel