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Northumbria Police launch UK’s first Police Cadetship for disabled young people

Northumbria Police has teamed-up with The Percy Hedley Foundation to launch the UK’s first Volunteer Police Cadet scheme for students with specialist educational needs.

The Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) is the uniformed youth group of policing and, until now, has only been available to able bodied, mainstream educated young people.

The cadetship, for students aged 18-25, will be based at The Percy Hedley Foundation’s Hedleys College, in Newcastle.

The very first cohort of cadets were officially sworn-in by the Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, Winton Keenen QPM, on Monday 17 October at a special ceremony held at the college.

The VPC scheme aims to open-up policing to young people – giving them a practical understanding of policing, to encourage the spirit of adventure and good citizenship.

Eight volunteer police cadets from Hedleys College, who were selected via a recruitment process, have been given a uniform and sworn-in for duties.

Over a full academic year, the cadets will learn all about policing including the phonetic alphabet, hate crime, anti-social behaviour, knife crime, crime prevention, internet safety, dog handling, wellbeing and mental health, theft, road safety/drink driving and anti-bullying.

The cadets will learn through lots of off-site visits to various places including a mosque, a speedwatch exercise, a beach, the force’s dog-handling unit – and via classroom-based lessons.

Hedleys College is an independent specialist further education provider for students aged 16-25 who have education, health and care plans.

Joanne Rees-Proud, College Principal, The Percy Hedley Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to be the first college in the country to be able to offer our students this amazing opportunity.

“We strive to offer our students education and experiences that help them reach their fullest potential in all aspects of their lives, and this cadetship will certainly support that.

“To see how proud and excited the first eight police cadets are to be embarking on this course is brilliant.”

Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, Winton Keenen QPM, said: “It was a real privilege to officially welcome our newest police cadets from the Percy Hedley Foundation into our policing family.

“In Northumbria Police we believe everyone who wants to make a difference should be given the opportunity to do so and this group of truly exceptional young people will, absolutely, do just that.

“We are fortunate to have a significant number of volunteers working alongside us, who freely give up their own valuable time to the benefit of others.  By doing so, I know they find it incredibly rewarding and we now have a group of new additions that will add even further value to our communities.

“I wish our new cadets well as they begin their experience of voluntary life within policing and look-forward to the new insights they will gain from us, as well as those we will gain from them.”

David Marr, one of the Police Cadet Volunteers from Percy Hedley College, said: “I have wanted to be a police officer since I was four years old. If anyone wants to be in the police, don’t let anything get in your way.”

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Northumbria Police’s Claire Wheatley and Volunteer Police Cadet, David Marr.

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