Behind the scenes trip to police HQ for cadet unit
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When a group of cadets were invited to spend a Saturday at a police station, they jumped at the chance.
And with the promise of being able to see a police dog in action and bashing a door down with an ‘enforcer’ – who can blame them!
Members of the 800 NAS Squadron, based in Kettering, visited Leicestershire Police headquarters in Enderby to get a look behind the scenes.
The Sea and Marine Cadets are aged between 10 and 18 and attend twice-weekly sessions locally in Kettering. These are sometimes classroom-based with time spent learning about the history of the Royal Navy and practicing parading, to more outdoor activities like getting out on the water.
Second in command of the unit is PC Adam Rowlands, who served in the Royal Navy for ten years before joining Leicestershire Police in 2000.
He said: “There’s no pre-requisite for joining the cadets, and no commitment required to join any armed force or emergency service, but being a cadet gives some insight to what it might be like and if it’s something that might be of interest.
“It teaches a level of discipline – it’s expected that the young people take care of their own uniforms and polish their own boots – and with visits like this to police headquarters, seeing things for themselves, it shows them what it could be like.”
The group got up close with some of the weapons the firearms officers carry, and got to try on some of the body armour routinely worn by those in specialist roles.
Then it was on to the dog section where they got to see Police Dog Steem, a digital dog in action, sniffing out a phone in the long grass. Trained to find digital devices as small as a SIM card which might contain vital evidence in a criminal case, PD Steem works with his handler to figure out where the technology is hidden.
And rather than nose or lick the device – which would destroy fingerprints or other evidence – when it’s found, Steem stays perfectly still – indicating he’s found what he’s looking for. From the almost frantic movement in the search, seeing him standing completely still was like someone had pressed pause!
Cadet Ollie is 11 and has been a cadet for the last seven months. He said: “I’ve really enjoyed being a police headquarters to be able to see some of the things police officers get to do.
“I wouldn’t have got the chance to do this if I wasn’t a cadet and that’s why I wanted to join up.
“I like to try new things and this is the perfect opportunity to do that.”
In the tactical support team unit, a trainer showed the young cadets how easy it is with the help of an enforcer – or a big red key, as it’s known – to get into a locked door with one hit.
But without the same strength and years of practice, the cadets were put through their paces, needed a few more hits with before breaking in to the dummy door.
Cadet Amelia, 17, has been a sea cadet for six years and is currently at college studying for a level three extended diploma in Uniformed Protective Services.
She said: “I’m thinking now about what I want to go on an do once I’ve finished my course in a years’ time and I’m undecided about whether to join the Royal Navy or the police.
“Being in the cadets is amazing for all the experiences it gives you and an insight to life in the forces.”