18 Jul 2018

SPENDING a week at a junior police academy in America, attending the royal wedding, and making lifelong friends – these are just some of the opportunities Volunteer Police Cadets at Dyfed-Powys Police have experienced.

For the past two years, teenagers in Ammanford, in Carmarthenshire, and Newtown, in Powys, have been part of the cadets scheme, which gives them an insight into policing and offers unique experiences.

There is now a chance for teenagers to put their names forward to join the cadets as Dyfed-Powys Police relaunches a branch of the scheme in South Pembrokeshire. Leaders are calling out for the next group of Volunteer Police Cadets (VPCs), who will start in September, and current cadets are encouraging school pupils to apply.

Volunteer Police Cadet Cheyenne Kirby, who has just returned from a week-long exchange visit to Maryland in America, said: “Personally, I think it’s the most amazing experience ever, and I would definitely recommend joining.

“It is a great opportunity to gain more skills, such as teamwork and communication, as well as learning about the police. I’ve really enjoyed being with the cadets, and since being with them I’ve wanted to join the police in the future.”

Cheyenne Kirby in America

Cadets meet regularly and have the opportunity to get involved with voluntary and community work in and around Newtown. They learn vital skills including first aid, communication, problem-solving and leadership, which they develop through ongoing training with the force.

Previous intakes of cadets have represented the police at Remembrance Day parades, helped some of the most vulnerable in the community during Christmas campaigns and have had the chance to learn about various sections of the police force.

Four cadets from Newtown were selected to take part in Dyfed-Powys Police’s first exchange visit to the US, when they were put through their paces at the South Maryland Junior Police Academy – an experience they would never have had if not for the cadet scheme.

VPC Tomos Chick said: “I’m glad I took the opportunity – the idea to come to America for the academy both scared and exited me initially. I didn’t know what to expect, and the culture shock was gruelling. But this programme was a life-altering decision, and I cannot repeat that enough.”

Pembrokeshire cadet Will Lloyd and Ammanford cadet Ffion Jenkins were chosen as Lord Lieutenant cadets this year, and have had the chance to rub shoulders with royalty at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

VPC Ffion said: “I expected to be standing with everyone on the streets by the castle, but I was shocked to find out that I have been invited to the grounds of Windsor Castle.

“I was proud, excited and very honoured to be invited to his historic event.”

South Pembrokeshire cadet leader Andrew Griffiths said: “Joining the police cadets is an excellent opportunity to get to know the police service, engage with the community you live in, and take part in events and experiences that you might not otherwise have the chance to.

“The skills cadets learn range from team building and communication, to confidence and self-awareness, which will set them up for any career they choose to pursue.”

The group is looking to recruit cadets who are currently in school years 8 and 9 at Greenhill, Tenby and Pembroke comprehensive schools. Anyone interested in applying can pick up an application form from PCSO Andrew Griffiths at Tenby police station, or at the schools’ receptions.