4:00 PM 6th November 2023
North East Disabled Police Cadets Scoop National Award
(L-R) Daniel Kelly, Michael Kerr and Sir Martyn Lewis CBE.
North East police cadets from the UK’s first Volunteer Police Cadetship for students with specialist educational needs have shown their disabilities don’t stop them as they scoop a prestigious national award.
The cadet unit beat 246 other teams from across England and Wales to win the accolade for their outstanding contribution to volunteering in policing.
Young cadets Daniel Kelly, 22, from Monkseaton and Michael Kerr, 21, from Washington attended a glittering, black-tie soiree at Lancaster House in London to collect the Lord Ferrers ‘Volunteer Police Cadet Team Award’ from Sir Martyn Lewis CBE, on behalf of their cadet team.
The award-winning cadets completed their cadetship at the Percy Hedley Foundation’s Hedley’s College in North Tyneside, in partnership with Northumbria Police.
The Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) is the uniformed youth group of policing and, until now, had only been accessible to able bodied, mainstream educated young people.
Joanne Rees-Proud, College Principal, The Percy Hedley Foundation, said:
“We were thrilled to launch the first police cadets scheme in the UK for people with disabilities and additional needs and the first eight cadets have done some fantastic work for the police service.
“We strive to offer our students education and experiences that help them reach their fullest potential in all aspects of their lives, and this cadetship very much supports that goal.
“To see how proud the cadets were to win this big award was a very special, emotional moment for our staff, and their mentors at Northumbia Police.”
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Lord Ferrers Awards, the police’s OK9 Wellbeing Dogs were special guests at the reception.
The cadets learned about all about policing including the phonetic alphabet, hate crime, anti-social behaviour, knife crime, crime prevention, internet safety, dog handling, wellbeing and mental health, theft, road safety/drink driving and anti-bullying. They learned through lots of off-site visits to various places including a mosque, a speedwatch exercise, a beach, the force’s dog-handling unit – and via classroom-based lessons.
Hedleys College is an independent specialist further education provider for students aged 16-25 who have education, health and care plans.