Hackney Police Cadets honoured at New Scotland Yard

An inspirational event to celebrate the achievement and dedication of Hackney’s Volunteer Police Cadets (VPCs) took place on 18 November at New Scotland Yard.

Volunteer Police Cadets are aged between 14 and 19, and the aim of the scheme, which is part-funded by Team Hackney, the local strategic partnership, is to encourage good citizenship through activities and discipline. It also enables young people to develop personal qualities and skills through structured training and better physical fitness, and builds positive relationships between the police and local communities.

Hackney Police’s VPCs have taken part in a number of exciting of activities this year for which they were recognised, including ‘Operation Fitzroy’, a five-day sailing trip around Cowes, where five lucky cadets were given the opportunity to learn sailing, and take part in a two-day race.

Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison MBE, Commodore of the Metropolitan Police Sailing Club said: “It’s amazing to see young people start a week not knowing the front end of a boat from the back, and finish the week sailing and racing it. This operation was a credit to the young cadets and their tutors, and I pay tribute to all those who took part”.

Other activities the VPCs have taken part in include the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award; an Iron Man competition; a football league with other VPC groups, and Bikes for Gambia, where the cadets sent over 200 bikes to children in Africa, to help them travel to school.

Several cadets even won a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak about child labour and child trafficking before the UN in Geneva, and received a standing ovation from UN officials.

VPC Maariya Ahmed said: “The experience was unforgettable…we made our mark on the United Nations, and so can you”.

Five cadets also took part in Take Over Day, where they were given the opportunity to shadow high profile figures, including the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Assistant Commissioner Ian McPherson and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Rod Jarman from New Scotland Yard, and Chief Inspector Andy Barnes and Detective Chief Inspector Gary Bruce from Stoke Newington Police Station.

Jill Dimartino, Hackney Police s VPC Manager, said: "Being presented with the awards at the home of the Metropolitan Police Service is a great honour for Hackney s Volunteer Police Cadets. I am extremely proud of all our cadets and this award ceremony is an opportunity to recognise their hard work in supporting Hackney Police, the work they do in the community and the activities they undertake which enhance their life and citizenship skills. Every cadet here works hard to make the unit what it is; a thriving unit that is always growing, allowing more young people to experience good teamwork, develop life skills and of course have fun along the way."

Along with a number of awards and certificates three special accolades were given out on the night, for Young Cadet of the Year, which went to Ozan Berber, Senior Cadet of the Year which went to Maariya Ahmed, and Hackney Cadet of the Year, which went to Shana Giordani.

Councillor Rita Krishna, Cabinet member for Children and Young People, and Chair of Team Hackney’s Children’s Trust Board, said: “This programme has been a great success and it’s clear that the cadets have learned and benefited from experiences which will stand them in good stead throughout life, while also demonstrating that they can make a huge positive contribution to their communities. Hackney should be proud of them.”

Chief Inspector Liam Harrington closed the evening event, saying: “It’s always fantastic to hear about young Hackney people being recognised for their contributions to society. To see such well behaved, professional individuals before me, and to know all of the good work they have done in the local community is a true testament to what Hackney’s communities can offer.”