The event was opened by Tower Hamlets Cadet Zainab, who introduced each speaker and thanked guests for attending. Guests from all Forces, community organisations and corporate partners were invited.
Baroness Harris of Richmond, Deputy Speaker House of Lords, welcomed all those present to the event and congratulated the VPC on so many positive achievements and accomplishments in Forces throughout the UK. Baroness Harris is a former deputy chair of the Association of Police Authorities and a firm supporter of voluntary and youth organisations in Yorkshire, where she lives.
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said “The VPC benefits both the young people involved and their local communities. Thanks to Home Office funding we have been able to create more places for young people across the UK.”
This amazing event was attended by over 150 guests from police forces across the country, Police & Crime Commissioners & High Sheriffs as well as senior Home Office representatives and Cadets themselves, who talked about their experiences and what they have gained from being in the VPC.
Dr Jeffrey DeMarco, a leading forensic psychology, criminology and legal researcher, at Middlesex University, presented ground-breaking research about the impact of the VPC on a young person’s life. He said “Not only has involvement in the VPC demonstrated a boost to young people’s psychological well-being across their confidence, self-esteem and empowerment, it also provides a safe place for young people to interact with like-minded peers, and gets them involved and visible in their communities.”
We were also proud to welcome Lorin Lefave, founder of the Breck Foundation. Lorin gave a moving & personal speech about the loss of her son Breck, who was murdered as a result of online grooming. She has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and protect young people.
The Breck Foundation with Met PCs Steve Austin and Reece Buckley (Tower Hamlets VPC) have worked across London and the UK to train hundreds of "Breck Ambassadors" . These dedicated Cadets are now spreading this key message in schools and youth organisations across the country and have reached over 15,000 young people so far, a truly remarkable achievement. It was announced by Chief Constable Sawyer that the "Breck Ambassadors" would be the Volunteer Police Cadets first National social action campaign.
The operational delivery team now known as the Volunteer Police Cadets National Hub is led by Ed Sherry OBE, this hub will continue to support Police forces and the programme nationally.
Cadets from the Metropolitan Police Service (Tower Hamlets), Hertfordshire Police, Greater Manchester Police, Gwent Police Heddlu Bach & Mini Police looked very smart in uniform, representing VPCs from all Forces.
It was also great to welcome two original Met VPCs from many years ago, Leon (now a Police Sergeant in London) and Nana (a senior Housing Officer with a local authority) who both worked with Ed Sherry, as young teenagers in Westminster!
Congratulations and well done to all our VPC family. Here's to exciting years ahead on this incredible journey!