More than 18 months have passed since cadets returned to West Midlands Police, with all areas of the force now home to a WMP Cadets unit.
Wolverhampton was the latest to open, in March. The scheme effectively helps to provide positive engagement with young people, some of whom may need a steer in the right direction or a role model in their lives.
The new unit, based at Kings School in Tettenhall, already has 22 young members after just eight weeks and they are in the process of adding to that number. The programme is led in Wolverhampton by unit commander PC Rani Gundhu.
Rani is a Wolverhampton NPU officer and force D&I champion − she’s a longstanding supporter of community projects, WMP staff associations and is now proud to volunteer as a cadet leader in her home city.
Speaking about her role as a volunteer, Rani cites a desire to inspire others as her greatest driver.
“I thrive on learning and improving how we police. I think it’s hugely important to create safe environments where everyone feels valued and respected − whether it’s as a police colleague or as a member of our local communities.
“The cadets scheme is a perfect example of this.
“Week on week we’ve had additional people joining us and we have an enormous force waiting list. We had a late joiner who came to us who was very anxious and has severe issues with confidence. Her mother was keen for her to trial the scheme to see if we could help. She started very reservedly but slowly started smiling and that same day her mother wrote to the school to say thank you, because her daughter just couldn’t stop talking about the scheme.
“Having such an impact on young lives is difficult to quantify but on a personal level it’s what we all volunteer for.
“Amongst my expanding unit of leaders we have an ex teacher and two very young leaders. I provide the ‘experienced voice’ while the younger leaders can really relate and connect with our cadets
“In just the short time we’ve been running, the school’s given us great feedback about how interactive the cadets are in our sessions, so we’re delighted that people can see the positive impact we are having.
“The cadet scheme gives the young people an opportunity to properly consider their future and have experiences that they would otherwise never have access to. We have a huge opportunity to open their minds and give them ideas or show them what’s possible in their futures.
“Seeing that impact is why we volunteer. All I’ve ever wanted in any of the different projects, associations or programmes I’ve been involved with over the years is to feed the desire to learn, and share best practice about how we can all work in partnership. I respect the human family and I am always ready to offer the hand of friendship and support to those who need it. The cadets definitely fits into those categories and allows me to give something back.
“I can’t wait to see how these cadets develop and grow as we take them through the programme of learning, community engagement, field trips and policing events supporting the ethos of good active citizens. Having a positive attitude and enthusiasm nudges others and helps people to flourish. I hope that’s what I bring to the cadets scheme.”
WMP Cadets is currently recruiting leaders for its units forcewide. If you think volunteering is for you, take a look at the volunteering opportunities on our careers hub.
Rani cites flexibility, reliability, passion, enthusiasm, creativity, innovation and being a team-worker as just a few of the vital skills for the role. If that’s you, take a look today.