Name: Nabil Laasid
Age: 17
Group: Volunteer Police Cadets, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea unit

I got involved with Police Cadets after my brother got stabbed in school.
I always wanted to join some service to do with the police or military. So when I gave evidence about the stabbing, I told the police officer I wanted to join the police when I got older. He told me: “First you need to learn how to behave”. He introduced me to Jane, our unit leader, and I got started.

Joining Police Cadets changed my life.
On the first night I came, I thought ‘this is it’. I was committed to it straight away. Before, I was always around the wrong crowd, and was starting to get in trouble, but when I joined cadets it turned me around. Now I’m Head Cadet for my unit. I’m more responsible and I’m accomplishing things every day.

I lost a friend in the Grenfell Tower fire.
I sat next to her in maths – she lived on the top floor. I saw the fire on TV the night it happened, as I was up late after fasting for Ramadan. Suddenly there were helicopters flying over my building – I couldn’t believe it.

So I ran towards my friend’s building.
I’ve never seen a fire that big. I stayed outside overnight, until 8 or 9 in the morning. I was waiting for my friend. All my calls went straight to voicemail. I didn’t fast that day.

As Police Cadets, we did what we could to help.
I was the first cadet to be in the police station that day. We were giving the survivors water and snacks and helping the police with their shifts when we could.

I feel Kensington, my borough, is split into two different worlds.
You get the rich side, and you have the estates. I believe that Police Cadets is right in the middle – everybody comes together here as one, no matter what colour they are, how much money they have, what age or religion. There are no barriers to getting involved. In here those two worlds can coexist.

There was a big anti-police feeling in my school, which made being a cadet challenging at first.
I tried to keep it a secret at first, but people found out. That was challenging, but I knew if I carried on here I would accomplish something in life. The leaders of my unit inspired me too – they talked to me a lot to help me overcome my fears. That encouragement was vital.

Wearing my uniform makes me feel proud.
It just makes me happy about what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve overcome. I’m sure that if my brother hadn’t got stabbed, and all this hadn’t happened, I’d just be rocking a tracksuit or something informal. Instead, I’m representing a positive force in the world.”


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