Our fifth annual national conference was held at Ryton College of Policing over the weekend of 9-11 June. The conference was opened by Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, National Police Chief Lead for the programme and the key note speaker, Charlotte Hill, the CEO of the 'Step up to Serve' campaign (www.stepuptoserve.org.uk). Charlotte gave an inspirational talk to the 140 delegates on the benefits of youth led social action, whilst highlighting the very close links between the aims of the #iwill campaign and those of the VPC.
The other highlight of the morning session was the launch of the digital platform that will increase both the efficiency of local programmes and the safety of the cadets. The system will register and track the cadets' progress through their VPC journey while allowing leaders to plan and manage local volunteering events that the cadets take part in.
The afternoon was taken up with a series of workshops including:
"Growing your own volunteers" led by PC Stuart Kenworthy from Hillingdon, West London. Stuart passed on his experiences of developing a cadre of 17 adult volunteers who are all ex-cadets and continue to support the programme as adult volunteers
"Assessing the value of cadets" led by Dr Iain Britton from Northampton University. This started a process of identifying case studies from around the country that can demonstrate the value of the cadet programme to the wider society outside of policing.
"Sharing your success" led by Elle Jeffries of Leicestershire Police who shared the outstanding work that her force has undertaken to raise the profile of their cadet programme, not only to the young people and the Police, but also the wider community.
"International opportunities available through the EU Erasmus+ programme" led by our partners at Momentum World who have assisted the VPC in delivering rewarding international opportunities to young leaders (aged 18+) across Europe.
The day’s activities were rounded off with an evening meal and a lively quiz.
The following morning, delegates enjoyed informative and interesting presentations by Bryan Russell of Durham Agency Against Crime (DAAC) and Dr Jeffrey DeMarco, Research Fellow in Criminology at Middlesex University, and then took part in one of four workshops with a view to developing work streams that would benefit all forces as we move forward:
1 - Managing volunteer leaders
2 - Supporting cadets into police roles
3 - Who's telling your story
4 - Development of Mini Police programme
Throughout the weekend, 33 cadets from 23 different forces came together and completed the VPC ‘Leading Social Action’ training course delivered by Graeme Ironside, our VPC Social Action lead. The young people developed projects they felt could help with issues in their local area, as well as understanding how to identify and demonstrate their own development during the course.
The conference was rounded off by inspirational presentations from 8 groups of cadets on their social action projects which included: supporting homeless people, integrating refugees into communities, opening a youth centre for 15 to 17 year olds, protecting the public from hate crime and anti-social behaviour, building a community memorial garden, providing advisory services for vulnerable teenagers and supporting charities that help ex-service men and women.
Overall the conference was a huge success which was due, in no small part, to the considerable efforts and contribution of many people. However, special thanks must go to Kath Bromilow from the national team for all her hard work in arranging the event, and to the volunteers from Capgemini Consulting and Leicestershire Police Volunteer Police Cadets for their invaluable assistance at the conference.
Working parties have now been established to take forward and develop the workshop outcomes.
We say goodbye, and thank you, to Andy Marsden who has been instrumental in successfully developing and testing the digital platform, and hello to Nick Healey who has returned to help deliver the rollout of the platform to forces. No doubt he will bring his enthusiasm and drive back with him.
We now have a totally refreshed website please have a look at – https://vpc.police.uk/
You will find a new style consistent with the VPC branding, simple to navigate pages with distinct sections covering JVPC, VPC, Leaders, Information for Parents and Carers, News and Events and FAQs.
Our attention is now turning to the Moodle platform on which our training resources sit. We are looking to review content, accessibility and user friendliness. If you have been registered onto it, we are keen to hear about the ‘user experience’, or why you may not have used it.
Any feedback please send an email to Kylie.JOYCE@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk
Work Stream Updates
Digital Platform has now been formally named as the Marshall Volunteer Portal. Testing with pilot forces has now been successfully completed and preparations are underway for the full launch.
Thanks to all the forces who have been on the working group, you have been instrumental in ensuring the platform fits everyone’s needs.
Our website contains an article from Sergeant Mark John of South Wales Police who is a member of the Working Group for the new platform and who volunteered his unit to be 'guinea pigs' to try out the new system, with some very positive feedback.
Social Action Training
This ASDAN accredited one day training course is aimed at supporting senior cadets as they move from delivering task led to youth led responses to community issues. It is designed to meet the nationally agreed principles of great social action, which were mentioned by Charlotte Hill in her keynote conference presentation. More details are on the following link;
The training also helps senior cadets to understand their own personal development gained from their involvement and how to evidence and explain this to others in pursuit of their own personal ambitions.
We have already delivered training to six forces and are geared up to deliver social action training to cadets across the country through to next March. Please contact Graeme Ironside at Graeme.firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07777 695015, who will be happy to discuss and arrange a training date.
Adult Volunteer Training
Work is currently underway to refresh the Moodle training to make the training material more user friendly and easier to access.
To increase direct support and advice on the ground, we are in the process of developing a network of regional trainers who will work directly with forces to identify and train a cadre of volunteer trainers, who can then support forces in-house to recruit and train volunteers to help with the running of cadet units.
The conference success was a clear reminder of just how important it is to get together and learn from each other. Please keep us updated on regional meetings as we will always endeavour to have one of us attend to provide an update on our work and to hear your news and views. Please contact Kath with any support requests you may have:
We have, at short notice, an opportunity to meet in Lancashire on the 6th and 7th July. A number of you have taken up the invite to join us to help plan and shape the next steps particularly around volunteer training. A big thank you for making this event happen.
We hope you have a great summer and manage to get a well-deserved break.
Best wishes from us all on the national team.