I promised before the first PCC election that I’d establish a young Police Cadets Service for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Nothing to do with recruiting to the police but everything to do with young people between 14 and 17 having an opportunity to be involved with a uniformed, disciplined service that builds confidence, skills and good citizenship.
Back in 2013, I wasn’t sure we’d have the success we have had in getting the budget back on track so I also promised not to spend policing money on the Cadets but instead ask businesses across Staffordshire to fund it. I’m so pleased it’s gone from a standing start to having nearly 200 youngsters from very different backgrounds and circumstances involved in just a couple of years. There are 7 Cadet Units covering most of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent with two more in the pipeline. In short, it’s flying, and enhancing young lives.
A massive, huge, enormous thank you to the Staffordshire police officers, pcsos, staff, special constabulary and everybody who has given up their precious time outside working hours to take the Staffordshire Cadets Service from a pre-election idea to the incredible success it now is. Overseeing and driving its development, as well as persuading businesses across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to part with their money, Sue Arnold, my Deputy. I’m also delighted that other PCCs have seen what we’re doing and developed similar schemes in their areas.
Given the chance after May 5th, I want to aim for 500 young people benefiting from being a Staffordshire Police Cadet and offer the opportunity for 10 to 14 year olds as well to bridge the gap between the new Junior Cadets (light touch for primary school age) and the existing 14 to 17 year olds one.