Mayor and Commissioner celebrate record young police volunteer numbers

03 August 2015

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Bernard Hogan Howe today praised the increasingly important role of young police volunteers in the capital, as the number of 10-19 year old Volunteer Police Cadets reaches a record high. There are now almost 4,000 Volunteer Police Cadets in the capital, and the Mayor is on track to meet his manifesto target for 5,000 by 2016, more than doubling the number in 2013.* Last year, London’s young police volunteers gave almost 200,000 hours of their time to assist their communities in a variety of ways including stewarding at major events such as the London Marathon and Remembrance Day and helping local Safer Neighbourhood Teams with street surveys and leaflet distribution. The scheme teaches basic knowledge in policing activity including arrest and custody procedures, first aid and conflict management. Open to all young Londoners, it continues to become more diverse - 48 per cent of cadets are female and 54 per cent are from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. The scheme also plays a significant role in involving, supporting and protecting young Londoners at risk of being drawn into antisocial behaviour and crime or from becoming socially excluded. Today, the Mayor and Commissioner met some of the cadets in Trafalgar Square where around 700 were taking part in a special, full uniform parade. They called for more young people and adult leaders to sign up to the programme. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “These amazing young Londoners are providing an invaluable service to their communities and gaining vital new skills that will help them succeed in life. By instilling discipline and self-reliance, schemes like the cadets can help youngsters get on the career ladder, prevent them drifting into crime and encourage them to aspire to a better future.” Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, MPS Commissioner said: "I am proud that so many young people want to be a part of our Volunteer Police Cadets scheme. They are an important part of our police family, and help us police London better every day. Cadets get involved in lots of important, interesting and enjoyable activities - from helping out at high-profile events like Trooping the Colour to supporting local police in preventing crime. In return, cadets gain valuable skills which will shape their futures for the better. We want more young Londoners getting involved in this excellent programme which gives back as much as they put in, and more." Seventeen- year-old Samuel Cirdei joined the Cadets at age 14 and is now Head Cadet for Harrow. He said: “It’s been an amazing journey since joining the Cadets to being a Head Cadet today. I always knew I wanted to be a police officer, and was pointed in the right direction by the Volunteer Police Cadets. Little did I know the huge part it would play in my life. I’ve had some unforgettable experiences over my two and a half years as a cadet, from day camps in the wilderness to the annual cadet competitions, and taking part in Trooping the Colour. Although we only meet twice a week, the programme has played a huge part in my life, making me who I am today. It’s turned me into an outspoken and confident individual who can deal with what the world throws at me. I urge anyone who wants to be part of something big and to experience unforgettable events to join the VPC. You won't regret it.” Run by the Metropolitan Police Service, the expansion of the Volunteer Police Cadets scheme is part of the Mayor's wider commitment to forge stronger connections between the public and police by enabling volunteering opportunities across the capital. These include the Special Constabulary, Safer Neighbourhood Boards, Met Police Volunteers, the Independent Custody Visitor Scheme, Neighbourhood Watch and the Stop and Search Community Monitoring Network. It is one of a range of London-wide crime prevention programmes, such as the football scheme London Premier League Kicks, which are supported and funded by the MPS and MOPAC aimed at supporting young people in staying away from antisocial behaviour and crime and reaching their potential. Ends NOTE TO EDITORS: * There are 3,762 cadets in London as of the end of June 2015, up from 2,400 in 2013. The Mayor is on target to meet his manifesto pledge to reach 5,000 in 2016. The Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan, published in 2013, aimed to double the number of Cadets by 2016. · More information on Volunteer Police Cadets, and how to sign up, can be found on the Met website: · The Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan aims to recruit a quarter of all cadets among young people who are involved or at risk of offending, have been victims of crime, bullying or intimidation or are at risk of becoming victims. · In 2013 the Met also launched a Junior Volunteer Police Cadet programme for 10-13 year olds, aimed at bridging the age gap between primary and secondary school which is a critically vulnerable time for young people. Led by senior cadets, the programme focuses on drill and sports activities and learning about community safety and crime prevention. · Alongside support for the VPC scheme, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime funds a wide range of crime prevention and community safety projects across the capital through the London Crime Prevention Fund, which last year totalled £18m. This includes a number of projects supporting young people to reach their potential and stay away from antisocial behaviour and crime. · London Premier League Kicks Programme: MOPAC has worked with the Premier League and committed £200,000 funding over the next two years for this football youth engagement programme designed to engage young people (aged 12 to 18 years) on the periphery of gangs. They take part in a range of constructive activities such as workshops and mentoring to build understanding of risky lifestyle choices, trust in the police and also create routes into education, training and employment. More than 1,300 young people have taken part, with 800 either finding a job or being signposted into further education by the programme. Further information on projects can be found at: MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Members of the press may contact the Policing Desk on [email protected] or call 020 7982 4070. GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100 DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000