Police recruit teenagers in battle against crime
28 October 2006
TEENAGERS from Camden are being invited to become junior police constables.
Camden police are launching a volunteer cadet corps to give youngsters the chance to help to police events as well as going on courses and learning key skills.
The first meeting of the Camden Cadets, next Thursday at Swiss Cottage School, is open to boys and girls aged 14 to 19.
Sergeant Deirdre Matthews, who is running the scheme, said: "The idea is to give young people an insight into policing and to teach them vital skills including emergency life support, police powers and major incident training.
"They'll take part in outward-bound activities and camps and meet other cadet corps."
Camden is one of the last London boroughs to get its own youth cadet force and to keep it free for kids, cash has been provided by the Camden Council and police.
The money will cover the cost of uniforms and allow cadets to take part in activities such as abseiling, kayaking and paint-balling.
Meetings will be staffed by police volunteers, including Kilburn Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Carly Driscoll. She said: "This is an ideal way for us to spend time with the youths in our ward and to let them know what we're about - and that we're human beings.
"Sometimes young people have a stereotype of police officers and it would be nice to see if we could change that a bit.
"It's also about giving them something fun to do - we spend a lot of time chatting to youths on patrol and part of the problem is there's not much for them to do, so I think this is really worthwhile."
Once cadets have completed a 10-week induction they will be able to assist police at special events including the London Marathon, film premieres and the Remembrance Day parade.
There are already more than 900 youth cadets across London. One 15-year-old cadet from the Westminster branch said: "The staff are brilliant and it's a good opportunity to meet people. Kids who don't have many friends can come and make friends - there's a really good atmosphere like that.
"We don't mind when the staff tell us what to do because they treat us like adults. They actually listen to us. Any time we have problems we can talk to them privately, which really helps.
"I didn't know what I wanted to do but now I want to work in the police."
Young people interested in joining the Camden Cadets should contact Deirdre Matthews on 07789 653 284 or speak to their Safer Schools Officer.
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