Cannock cadets measure up as they ‘get fell in’ for new force to be reckoned with
And that was the message for teenagers from Cannock who tried on their uniforms for size as a pioneering police chief watched his new cadets on the launch pad of history.
Cannock police commander Carl Ratcliffe was on hand to see the successful lift-off of the town’s new cadet scheme – which was a key election pledge for Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis.
The idea of a countywide cadet force is something which I know is dear to chief inspector Ratcliffe’s heart AND even before Matthew Ellis was elected to the post of police and crime commissioner last November – the senior police officer was providing advice and support to his cadet campaign.
And he has also single handily mirrored the actions of the Office of The Police & Crime Commissioner by being very pro-active in raising funds for his new cadet unit . . . in fact I think there’s a salesman hiding in that uniform.
Around 30 youngsters, aged 14 to 17, and their families attended the opening event for the Cannock unit.
The new unit will meet every Monday evening at Cannock Community Fire Station.
Chief constable Mike Cunningham said: “Cadets take part in lots of different activities and learn more about what police life is like. They get to wear their own police cadet uniform and help keep communities safe and reassured.
“This could mean giving out safety advice to local people or helping us to find out about their concerns. They also learn more about how we track down criminals, about the gadgets and equipment we use to fight crime and have a go at operational personal safety training.”
Councillor George Adamson, leader of Cannock Chase Council, said: “The Chase Community Partnership is delighted to sponsor the cadet scheme in Cannock.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for young people in the district to learn how our local police operate to track down criminals in the area.
“They will gain key life skills, make a difference in the local community and gain valuable experience for their future careers.”
Cadets work towards Duke of Edinburgh bronze, silver and gold awards having a go at hiking, climbing and orienteering.
Businesses are being invited to become patrons to help fund uniforms and equipment for the cadets.
In return for becoming a patron, businesses’ contributions are recognised through publicity, a framed certificate and other opportunities. Police Mutual became the inaugural patrons after paying for uniforms for cadets in the Stafford unit.
I vividly recall as a young girl my adventures with the girl guides into Cannock Chase and the exciting and rewarding time we had. The opportunity this gave me on my journey into life has been invaluable.
I still recall the oath I made as a girl guide and the sense of belonging, structure and discipline it afforded me as a young girl . . . one that had lots of energy and how it focused my skills.
I mention this experience because it demonstrates the commitment the Office of The Police and Crime Commissioner and the police have in ensuring our Staffordshire young people get the same – if not a more enhanced experience and opportunity than we received as young people.
The cadet boys and girls will be part of a uniformed and disciplined service, and they will become more self confident and outgoing – attributes often known as soft skills which are really important in the course of the globally competitive life our boys and girls now grow up in.
Companies value these soft skills and research shows that they are as important as their academic qualifications.
A positive attitude, good communications, problem solving attributes, self confidence, the ability to accept and learn from criticism, and versatility.
These are very important skills which are encompassed within our cadet scheme through the Duke of Edinburgh award. They will be led by professional inspirational leaders whose responsibility it is to invest in the future of our Staffordshire young citizens.
We are very fortunate that our chief constable and his staff share the same vision for the cadets and are instrumental in delivering the programme on our behalf.
The commissioner made a manifesto promise that the cost of the cadet units would not impact on policing budgets and in budgetary terms I must stress that we have kept our PROMISE not to redirect money that’s used for frontline policing to fund the cadets.