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Police cadet concerns

15:43 25 November 2012

Axminster police station.

Axminster police station.

Archant

Former mayor Tom Wright fears that proposals for a police cadet force in Budleigh Salterton could hit frontline policing.

New Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall Tony Hogg pledged in his election manifesto to set up a police cadet force in ‘every town’.

But the idea comes amid budget cuts across the force; by 2015 the budget will be slashed by 20 per cent.

And Councillor Wright, a former Thames Valley police area commander whose youngest son was a police cadet, said that, while he supported the principle, he was concerned that the proposals would use up resources needed in ‘frontline policing’.

In his manifesto Commissioner Hogg made the pledge and said that his number one priority was to cut crime by bringing policing ‘closer to the public’.

And he called for a renewed effort to develop the police cadets to give young people a strong sense of social responsibility.

He said he wanted to build on the existing network in Devon and Cornwall, open to all young people between the ages of 13 and 18.

He said that the cadets would learn key policing skills as well as having the opportunity to undertake a variety of challenging outdoor activities ‘to make a difference in local communities.’.

Cllr Wright said: “In my experience, to run a cadet force you need police officers.

“And it would deflect a police officer from their normal duties. That was one reason why Thames valley police scrapped it.

“Police cadets teach young people about the role of the police and encourage social responsibility and the sorts of kids who would join up would not be the sort to get into trouble anyway.

“I support it in principle, but principles cost money and I would be concerned about where the money would come from.”

Commissioner Hogg said: “David Cameron has talked about the potential to develop a modern day national service through the Government’s National Citizens Service scheme, but I think other agencies can play a role too.

“Police officers are fantastic role models and being a police cadet helps young people develop important social skills and become a valuable part of their local community.”

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