A GROUP of pioneering school pupils are proud to join the ranks of law enforcement after successfully training to become police cadets.
The teenagers at Astley St Mary’s RC High School completed an intensive introduction to the role of policing to become an official Volunteer Police Cadets force.
The 27 young people were presented with their berets and welcomed into the force by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) chief constable Sir Peter Fahy and Greater Manchester police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd at a ceremony in school.
The new cadets will take on roles including educating young people in Wigan about the work of the police, support the force’s campaigns in the area to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and ensure the views of youngsters are heard by GMP.
PC Alison Casey, who runs the St Mary’s cadet scheme, said: “We have some truly inspirational children in Wigan and Leigh and this was shown tonight. These children are giving their time to make our communities a better place to live and you will start to see them out in our communities helping to make a difference to people’s lives.”
The new cadets delivered a speech explaining why they wanted to join the force before marching past the guests of honour and coming to attention for a formal inspection and parade by the chief constable.
The St Mary’s cadets are one of the first voluntary forces in Greater Manchester, with GMP hoping the youngsters will promote good citizenship and encourage other teenage Wiganers to volunteer and be actively involved in their local communities.
Sir Peter said: “Forging relationships with young people is a key part of what we do. We’ve worked closely with schools, and a lot of our officers and PCSOs have set up youth groups and projects, but now the opportunity to set up a proper youth volunteer cadet scheme is really exciting.
“Young people often get a very bad press, but actually the rate of youth offending is going down, there are fewer young people getting into trouble and they are using drugs a lot less. What we see is that they are really very impressive and might do a better job of running this world than we do.”
St Mary’s headteacher Andrew Dawson also paid tribute to the new cadets. He said: “The Volunteer Police Cadets is an excellent initiative that provides a positive experience and real opportunity for our students to make a difference. The passing out parade was a very proud moment for all the students, their families and the school.”