VIDEO: Staffordshire Police do the Harlem Shake in plea for new cadets
YOUNG people will be recruited into a new police cadet scheme in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Cadets will learn about citizenship and crime-fighting while working alongside officers from Staffordshire Police.
Matthew Ellis, Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, who launched the scheme yesterday, believes it will strengthen ties between the police and young people.
A pilot in Stafford will involve up to 30 youngsters aged 14 and 15, but Mr Ellis hopes around 180 cadets will be active across the county by the end of the year.
He said the police would actively seek to recruit young people with more challenging backgrounds.
Mr Ellis added: "There will be room for everybody in the cadets. But we don't just want to see the 'usual suspects' who you expect to join youth organisations. We want to sign up young people who can really benefit from this.
"This isn't just about something for young people to do, and then the moment they've finished they go back to what they were doing before. We want to challenge their mindset. The scheme's all about encouraging young people to develop new skills and self-confidence in the service of communities."
The scheme will be funded through business sponsorship, while members will pay £2 a week. There will be groups for senior cadets, aged between 14 and 17, as well as junior units for 10 to 14-year-olds.
Staffordshire Police are even looking to promote the scheme through viral internet videos, and have teamed up with young people from Stafford Sports College to produce their own version of the popular Youtube sensation, the ‘Harlem Shake'.
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham said: "Cadets will take part in lots of different activities and learn more about what it's like to work for Staffordshire Police. They'll get to wear their own police cadet uniform and work with police officers to help keep communities safe and reassured."
Audley recently experienced a spate of anti-social behaviour involving teenagers.
Bert Proctor, chairman of Audley Rural Parish Council, welcomed the cadet scheme, but questioned whether it would reach the right young people. He said: "I'd welcome any attempt to engage with young people. But the sort of people who will join groups like this are not the sort who will cause problems. There is a small minority of young people who don't want to take part in any organised activities."
Application forms can be downloaded from www.stafford shire.police.uk/cadets.