Cadets from around the UK joined senior leaders, guests and colleagues from Microsoft UK for an energetic, engaging and empowering “Cadet Voice” session, at the Microsoft Campus in Reading.
Cadet Voice listens to, promotes and presents the thoughts, opinions and ideas of young people from across the Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) programme, through young representatives and participants.
Following the success of two previous Cadet Voice events in Manchester and London, cadets from Surrey, Hampshire, British Transport Police, Lancashire, Isle of Man, Greater Manchester, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Devon & Cornwall Police were put into four mixed groups Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta. Each were assigned a key issue from recent consultations, to review and discuss.
Alpha looked at “youth crime and violence”, how young people are impacted, community action and ideas.
Bravo considered “social action” as a positive vehicle for change.
Charlie discussed “policing priorities”, what this might mean to young people and consultation.
Delta talked about “Future VPC” – what next for the Volunteer Police Cadets and what the future might look like!
The groups met key Microsoft colleagues, who support innovative and far-reaching technology programmes in UK police forces, wider public sector and beyond. Cadets met a graduate who talked about her journey and experiences with Microsoft after leaving University, as well as getting the chance to try out cutting-edge technology like the fully immersive Holo-lens virtual reality headsets and kit, PowerBi and finding out the difference key technology can make to policing and communities.
A “Dragons Den” style panel made up of Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer the VPC NPCC Lead along with senior executives from Microsoft, PCC for Thames Valley Police Anthony Stansfield. The panel listened to each group presentation and ideas, giving feedback and asking key questions. The feedback from the panel was absolutely amazing!!
Cadet Voice has been a six month project supported by Youth United funding, which has really captured the imagination of those taking part, empowered cadets from many different forces and brought together a power-house of ideas, enthusiasm and inspirational experiences.
Moving forward, the Cadet Voice programme and plans offer great opportunities to build on a genuine “youth voice” for police forces, drawing on their own VPC programmes and the wider community.
Cadet Leader Usman from Bedfordshire said “As an #iwill ambassador and #youthvoice campaigner as well as being a VPC Leader, I’m proud that the VPC is pioneering new ways of giving its young members a platform to inform and influence their future and that of policing.”
It is hoped that this event is the start of embedding the Youth Voice into the VPC at a local, regional and national level as we move forward.
In the future we hope to further develop the partnership with Microsoft, Develop and build on pool of those cadets/young leaders who had attended by keeping in touch and giving some of them specific Cadet Youth Voice ambassador training to spread the word and culture, whilst also widening opportunities. It is also our aspiration to appoint two or three Cadets/Seniors to a national steering group and introduce a Youth Voice award.
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