Chief Constable Mike Barton with the new recruits Ronnie Haw, Thomas James, Michael Flint, Ellie Robinson, Ana Futter, Callum Cornick, Dylan Etheridge.
Picture: DURHAM POLICE
Trailblazing teenagers have signed up to make a difference in the North-East through an innovative scheme being piloted in the region.
The group of youngsters aged 16 to 18-years-old have been hailed as the magnificent seven by Durham Police who will now guide them through the force’s Cadet programme.
The two-year apprenticeship role for the next generation of crime fighters will see the teenagers combine their work as youth development officers alongside their studies towards a youth worker qualification with Derwentside College, Consett.
During their time as Cadets, the group will work on projects to engage teenagers in the community to tackle issues on anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug abuse, bullying and child sexual exploitation.
The Durham Agency Against Crime (DAAC) will deliver the scheme which is believed to be among the first of its kind to be offered by the organisation. Sixteen-year-old Ronnie Haw, from Darlington, registered for the Cadets in a life-changing move for the youngster. Mr Haw said: “I first got involved in the Cadets over two years ago and it really did change me.
“I was just sitting at home and wasn’t very outgoing – now I am a lot more confident and I have had some amazing experiences including trips away in the Lake District and the Isle of Man.
“I think this is a brilliant opportunity and I can’t wait to make a difference.
“Eventually I would like to become a police officer and hopefully this is another step to achieving that.”
Within the Cadets programme, one role will specialise within the Horticulture, Agriculture, General Education and Individual Development (HAGGRID) project, which is also coordinated by DAAC.
The specialist Cadet apprenticeship is offered to ensure young people are seen as assets to their community.
Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Police, said: “I think it is absolutely fantastic that we are welcoming these young people to Durham’s policing family and it is a great opportunity for them.
“When it comes to tackling youth issues, surely there is no one better placed. I wish them every success in their new roles.”