Become a Police Cadet
Improve yourself, improve your community

After your 13th birthday you can join the Volunteer Police Cadets.

After your 13th birthday you can join the Volunteer Police Cadets. You will be given a unique insight into the workings of the Police Service, including talks and demonstrations from officers working in all sections of the Police Service. You’ll be issued a uniform and learn all about police powers and procedures, take part in competitions and assist and influence local Policing teams improve the service we provide our communities. 

But it’s not all about Policing. The Volunteer Police Cadets are the only uniform youth group that expects its young people to volunteer an average of 3 hours per month working in their communities on crime prevention and social action projects. If you’re looking for an opportunity to work to improve your community and have ideas for projects that could achieve this, join the VPC and make them happen!

In return you will be offered opportunities to improve your communication and leadership skills, gain awards and qualifications such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and meet a host of young people from your area and the rest of the country with similar interests. We also offer opportunities to work with youth social action groups from across Europe, with two such current projects developing awareness of modern slavery and extremism. These projects will see you travelling to conferences and workshops all over Europe.

The National VPC also now offer an accredited curriculum to its members, providing evidence for your CV and skills to improve your employability. The Record of Service summarises your journey with the VPC in a simple concise format that allows employers to see how you’ve grown through your time with us and outlines the key skills that they are looking for. 

And it doesn’t finish on your 18th birthday : Through our Senior Cadets Leadership Course, older Cadets are offered training in Leadership, Communication and Presentation Skills to ready them for the next stage of their VPC journey – becoming a VPC Leader. 

Moving away to University? With the recent rapid expansion of the VPC the vast majority of Police Services are now offering the Volunteer Police Cadets programme. Finding a unit local to you university where you can continue your journey with the VPC allows you to retain that connection and help develop the young people who are in the same place you were when you started.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why should I become a Police Cadet?

Is it only for people that want a career with the police?

Will I get a uniform?

Who can become a volunteer police cadet?

Where are cadets held?

How much does it cost?

I’m over 18 what else can I do?

Can I still join if I have been in trouble with the police?

Will it help me join the police service?

How often do I have to attend?

What kind of volunteering will we do?

There is no scheme where I live but I would like to join, what can I do?

Case studies


Below is a message that was received by a Cadet Leader from one of our Welsh forces and her team:

Hi Angela I wanted to say thank you very much for want you have done for me and everyone else. I know you didn't have to do this and you could have spent the time you had with us to your family but thank you for going that extra mile for us it means a lot to me. You have changed my life in every way that was possible. It feels like just yesterday we all were strangers we were shy, didn't want to talk to anyone, not confident in ourselves and didn't believe we could never do the impossible and now after knowing each other it feels like the impossible has become into the possible. I personally feel more confident in myself and even more happier than before. I believe we are more than just friends we are the dream family that no one can take from us and you made that possible Angela thank you very very much I really do mean that. I have learned a lot from you, Deke, Google (Dan), Jordan and last but not lest Chloe thank you all for going that extra mile and making me feel welcomed ?? can't wait to start again at September. THANK YOU!!

And this from a parent of one of her cadets

Just a quick email to thank you for giving Josh an incredible time during the adventure week. Although extremely tired he has had the most fantastic few days. He was absolutely buzzing when I picked him up.

Without your time, commitment, dedication and enthusiasm you give, not only to Josh but the whole group, this event and everything else would not take place so please accept my sincere thanks to you and the rest of the team.


Sam - Volunteer Police Cadet 

I have no family or relatives in the police, and no direct police-related influence in my life, so when asked why I wanted to join the cadets I can only accredit it to a desire to help and serve people, to make a difference in my community, and to get involved in something positive.

My first year
The joining process was a straightforward one. I saw an online advert for the cadets, downloaded the application to join, and sent it in – knowing straight away that this was something I wanted to be a part of. My application was successful and I was invited to an induction event, which kicked off with some on-the-spot drill. As any police cadet will tell you, there’s nothing like a bit of shock-drill to put everyone on their toes, and looking around I could tell all the other new cadets were nervous about what was to come; as I was.

However, that was where the worry ended. From the first week our cadet leaders and guest officers and staff from the force started to teach us about different aspects of policing. This involved practical presentations, group discussions, tours of force facilities and involvement in local policing priorities.

While my initial expectation was true in that we are a disciplined group, there is also so much space in the cadets for fun, humour and brilliant comradeship in everything we do. Also, the opportunities I’ve been given have been brilliant; for example the operations we’ve been involved in, like a recent initiative to reduce the underage sale of alcohol.

I recently attended the Senior Cadet Leadership Course which is designed to develop leadership skills of older cadets, both in their role as cadets and beyond. This course exceeded my expectations, and I learnt so much about being an effective leader and I am trying to put these skills into practise back in my unit and elsewhere in my life.

The Leaders
A large part of my enjoyment of cadets has come from the support and direction of our cadet leaders. Every police cadet I’ve met says something similar, but our leaders inspire me to do my best at cadets, and to be passionate about a potential future career with the police. I have gained new friends and mentors from cadets and leaders in my unit who I will remember long after my time with the cadets is over.

Police cadets have given me many fantastic opportunities, and I have grown massively and gained so much confidence. I’ve also met some truly brilliant officers and made some great friends. I know my friends and family have been really pleased to see me involved with something positive that I’m passionate about, and even those I know who view the police with a question mark, respect me for what I’m doing and see the benefit in it.
Finally, I look with great anticipation to what is ahead; to the many new opportunities within cadets, and to my own future experiences as a soon-to-be cadet leader. I also look forward to the more great fun we are yet to have together. The future certainly is bright.


Sean - Volunteer Police Cadet 

For some time I have been considering a career in the police service, so applied to study public services at Lancaster and Morecambe College. It was here that I found out about the Volunteer Police Cadets and put in an application to join. I didn’t know what to expect from our weekly sessions, but it has always been interesting and very varied; it has taught me a lot. I have three examples of things that have happened to me since becoming a police cadet that have made a difference to me. One night I went out for a run and came across an old man who had just accidentally hit a parked car when driving past it. The driver of the other car was there and was very angry. Even though I was much younger, I was able to calm them down so that they could talk and sort it out sensibly. Another time, when out running again, I found a drunken man who was lying in the street. He had fallen and banged his head. I put him into the recovery position, called an ambulance and sat with him until the paramedics came to take over. I know that these are only small incidents, but I believe that my membership of the police cadets and what I have learned has given me the ability to deal with situations like this with more confidence than I had before.

The third example came after a session at police cadets when we were taught the importance of recognising details. It was set up that a man came into the room at cadets and was trying to steal from a handbag. After he left we were all asked to give a description. Mine was rubbish! I hadn’t taken notice of anything important. About a week later I saw a man at my local Co-Op and suspected he was shoplifting. The shop assistants knew that someone had been stealing but didn’t know any details. I was able to give a full description of the man, including his age, hair colour, what clothes he was wearing and the registration number of the vehicle he got into. This is something I would never have been able to do the week before!

Last year, after finishing my GCSEs I got the opportunity to take part on the NCS scheme. It involved three weeks of activities aimed at team building, leadership skills, charity work and getting involved with voluntary organizations. After the three weeks were complete, we were encouraged to get involved in voluntary work. I went on a holiday for disabled children where I took care of a boy similar in age to me, but was mentally and physically disabled. The holiday was extremely challenging and exhausting, but was also rewarding and is something that I plan to do again this summer.

The experience of being a police cadet has definitely helped me as a person. As well as giving me a wider understanding of what is involved in policing, it has helped me to grow in confidence and maturity, in my awareness of other people and their needs and has helped me to work well in team situations; these are all things that I can take with me and benefit from whatever I do in the future.

Over 18?

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