Police cadets at Tower Hamlets land £1,000 for Duke of Edinburgh scheme

PUBLISHED: 12:46 14 December 2015 | UPDATED: 07:42 15 December 2015

Tower Hamlets police cadets on outbound map-reading exercise

Tower Hamlets police cadets on outbound map-reading exercise

TH Police Cadets

Volunteer police cadets who helped uncover deadly weapons in London’s East End have now landed a cash windfall to take part in an outdoor training programme.

Police cadets visit Tower of London on their Tower Hamlets manorPolice cadets visit Tower of London on their Tower Hamlets manor

The Met Police cadets’ Tower Hamlets branch was one of just nine urban community projects to get cash in a national community ‘Force for Good’ programme.

The £1,000 grant from Police Mutual not-for-profit insurance trust goes towards campsite costs, tents and boots and means cadets who can’t afford the high fees can now take part in the Duke of Edinburgh outward bound scheme.

The branch was set up by officers Steve Austin and Peter Greene in 2009 to redress an imbalance of ethnic minorities serving in the Met Police and to get youths off the streets when the East End was troubled by “post code” gang rivalry.

The only funding was whatever the Met could spare—usually zilch—or occasional grants from philanthropists like east London’s Jack Petchey Foundation.

Met officers Steve Austin and Peter Greene in 2011, soon after setting up their Tower Hamlets police cadetsMet officers Steve Austin and Peter Greene in 2011, soon after setting up their Tower Hamlets police cadets

But this latest windfall from Police Mutual means the young cadets, many from poor, ethnic backgrounds, can take part in essential outdoor courses like the Duke of Edinburgh scheme even if they can’t afford the fees.

“Five of our 203 cadets became police officers this year,” Pc Austin points out. “Another five are in the Armed Forces.

“Most signing up are youngsters from black or ethnic backgrounds, around 85 per cent, compared to just 20pc currently serving in the Met Police—so there’s more scope for the future.”

The cadets meet each Wednesday evening in the grounds of Raine’s Foundation School in Bow before Steve reads out their assignments for the week.

One of the regular exercises is searching for weapons that officers hide in bushes or under waste bins in the school playground—such as a lethal knuckle-duster, cosh, stud belt, nun-chuck and an air gun, all having been involved in street gang fights in the past.

The cadets take part in non-confrontation policing, community events such as the London Marathon and local crime-reduction exercises like the weapons sweeps in the Bromley-by-Bow neighbourhood last month that recovered weapons hidden in a neighbourhood park.

Recruiting is open to teenagers from 14 to 18, with activities including sports competitions and outward-bound courses such as the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.

Police Mutual, established 140 years, launched its first national community sponsorship programme ‘Force for Good’ in September, supporting causes that benefit communities.

Stephen Mann, its chief executive, said: “We wanted to identify causes the police feel improve lives in their communities and are confident it will bring communities together as a ‘force for good’.”

The Police Mutual Foundation, which had almost 1,300 applications up and down the country for grants including 74 from Greater London, has given £50,000 to support projects this year alone and has pledged another £50,000 in the New Year.

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