PCC extends successful Mini Cadet Programme in Kent Schools
Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, has extended a popular schools engagement programme across Kent and Medway schools.
The Mini Cadets were launched in April 2021 and since then 485 children aged between 8 and 11 have taken part. 41 schools have enrolled and more are hoping to join in September.
The course is coordinated centrally and run by Youth Engagement Officers. Designed to teach young people about good citizenship, the nine week programme concentrates on building children’s self-esteem as well as breaking down any barriers they may have felt towards the police. They are taught about online safety, take part in drills and produce a Social Action Project within their school or community. These have included designing road safety posters, taking part in litter picks, organising school assemblies and online safety messages. They also learn how to contact the emergency services, are taught first aid and take part in sport and fitness tests.
Matthew Scott, the PCC said,
“This is an absolutely fantastic scheme and I’m delighted to be able to fund it for the foreseeable future. I’ve seen how much it benefits youngsters. Some children have told me they were nervous and shy before they took part, but being a mini cadet improved their confidence. Others have told me they were scared of the police before signing up, but they have loved visiting police stations and working with the youth engagement officers. It’s police engagement at its finest.”
Senior Kent Police Officers agree the programme has been a success. Superintendent Jason Wenlock, Head of Volunteers said,
“The mini-cadet scheme is an important initiative with many schools and pupils in Kent having already benefited.
We are grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner for his continued funding, allowing us to widen the scheme further, ensuring we are engaging with as many children as possible at a young age and developing them into positive role models for others.”
Schools from Dover and Deal to Dartford and Gravesend, Swanley, Tonbridge, Sittingbourne and Swale have all benefitted.
One of the mini cadets, who took part in the very first pilot scheme in Dartford in April 2021 told us,
“Being at mini cadets for 9 weeks was brilliant. I have learned how to make more friends and I have learned what I want to be when I’m older. I want to be a social worker and help other children.”
That mini cadet went on to be a mini cadet team leader the following year to encourage other children to be more confident.
In addition to the mini cadets initiative, Kent Police also runs a cadet programme for young people aged 13 to 17.