HAMPSHIRE Constabulary has officially welcomed its first 74 teenage volunteer police cadets.

The cadets have had a ten-week induction programme, learning team working and leadership skills, meeting various departments within the police and gaining a first aid qualification.

The scheme for young people aged between 13 and 18 is aimed at giving youngsters a practical understanding of the police and to encourage the spirit of adventure and good citizenship.

The cadets have committed to volunteering with local policing and community initiatives, starting with a policing operation in Southampton later this month. They will then be helping at New Forest Show, and taking part in the first Hampshire Constabulary annual camp in August.

Owing to the success of the first two pilot units in Southampton, the force is looking to introduce a further seven schemes around the force area in September, which should see a further 250 volunteer police cadets joining the constabulary.

Force cadet leader PC Steve Swift said: “This is a fantastic scheme aimed at improving the future potential of young people as well as providing the constabulary with an excellent form of positive engagement with young people and the community.

“However, this is a completely voluntary scheme which relies on kind and generous donations from individuals and organisations.”

Anyone who would like to contribute can contact PC Swift at volunteer.police.cadets@hampshire.pnn.police.uk.

Anyone who would like to join as either a leader or cadet can go to www.hampshire.police.uk and click on Join the Team, Current Vacancies, then Police Support Volunteers.