Last weekend (July 11th & 12th) Volunteer Police Cadets from across the county descended on Hertfordshire Police Headquarters in Welwyn Garden city, to take part in the 2015 County Cadet Competition.
Since last year, the number of Volunteer Police Cadets has grown in Hertfordshire and this year two new cadet groups from Broxbourne and East Herts were put through their paces for the first time along with 99 other police cadets from Dacorum, Hertsmere, North Herts, St Albans and Harpenden, Stevenage, Three Rivers, Watford, and Welwyn and Hatfield.
The cadets aged between 14 and 18 years, had 11 scenarios and team building exercises to complete. These included a road traffic collision, a hostage rescue assault course, a 500 metre shield run, where the cadets had to run with heavy riot shields wearing a riot helmet, arresting suspects in a mock shoplifting scenario as well as giving evidence in court in front of real life magistrates and lawyers, who volunteered their time to help the cadets.
Over 100 volunteers gave up their free time to assist with running the weekend including many of the cadet leaders themselves; undertaking tasks that need to be completed to make sure that the weekend runs smoothly and also assisting with scenarios.
Two new scenarios which were added this year to further stretch the abilities of the cadets with the help of Hertfordshire’s Fire and Rescue Service, who along with their cadets set up a hose drill, which gave the cadets the opportunity to get involved in another area of the emergency services.
Park Guard Ltd who sponsored some of the weekend, also brought along two search dogs and a cadet from each Unit, who was given the opportunity to learn how to work with the dogs and completed a ‘mock’ search activity.
On Sunday (July 12th) the cadets were joined by over 200 family and friends at Police Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, where they paraded and were inspected by Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson, Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd and the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Jonathan Trower. They were also joined by Mayors from the majority of the county's boroughs. This was followed by presentations and awards.
The overall winners were the St Albans and Harpenden police cadets, with Welwyn and Hatfield and North Herts a close second and third place.
Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Volunteer Police Cadet Co-ordinator and Chairman of the Hertsmere Police Cadets, PC Ross Paybody, organised the event. He said: “Every year County Competition is getting bigger and better which couldn’t be done without the help and support from our volunteers.
The weekend gives the cadets the opportunity to test the skills they have learnt throughout the year, meet other cadet groups and compete in a number of different activities.
“It was great to welcome Broxbourne and East Herts to this year’s event, which means we have even more young people getting actively involved in the community and I hope to welcome more new cadet groups in the future.
“I’d like to thank all the role play volunteers and cadet leaders for their support in making the event such a success. I’d also like to thank Park Guard Ltd, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Constabulary and Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Sports and Social Club who all contributed to this year’s event.”
Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, commented: “I was pleased to learn that the number of cadets in Hertfordshire has grown since last year. I am a strong believer in the role that Cadets can play in keeping our community safe and promoting volunteering opportunities is a key part of my Police and Crime Plan for Hertfordshire.
“The experience, confidence and skills that these Cadets are learning now will no doubt help them in the years to come wherever their education and career paths take them. I was very impressed with the commitment I saw from them this weekend and enjoyed seeing the many proud faces among their families and friends in attendance.”
Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson said: “During the weekend I had the opportunity to see the cadets take part in various activities. I also had the opportunity to speak to a number of them and ask them why they joined the police cadets, with one response really reminding me of what being a police officer is all about, “helping people.” It’s inspiring to see the dedication and enthusiasm displayed by these young people and it reassures me that if they do decide to pursue a career in the police, Hertfordshire will be in safe hands. Being part of the cadets provides young people with great experience and life skills for the future and I’d encourage anyone who is interested in joining to find out more.”
The cadets get involved in summer camps, community events, fitness activities, take part in parades, volunteer in their local community and learn about police procedures and the law throughout the year. Specialist departments such as the tri-force Armed Policing Unit and Dog Unit also give regular talks to the group.
If you are interested in joining the police cadets, are aged between 14 and 18 and interested in helping your local community, visit https://www.herts.police.uk/hertfordshire_constabulary/cadets.aspx.
The Commissioner’s Volunteering Strategy for Hertfordshire calls on people of all ages to get involved and play their part in keeping Hertfordshire safe. There are many volunteering opportunities across the county from the Special Constabulary to Neighbourhood Watch. For details please visit www.hertscommissioner.org or www.herts.police.uk/volunteers.