Name: Tariq Hardadou
Age: 19
Group: Volunteer Police Cadets, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea unit

Cadets and other uniformed groups help to create more socially-conscious citizens.
Any young person who goes through cadets is likely to give more back to society. Volunteering-wise, I’ve given over 1,000 hours in one year alone. As a unit we’ve given 14,000 volunteering hours. Altogether, that makes such a difference.

For me, Police Cadets has become more than a full time job.
I was a cadet for 7 years and now I’m a special constable. I never expected that at 19. But I’ll be involved with this unit even as I continue to move up the ranks of the police force.

Cadets and similar uniformed groups can be life changing for some kids.
Seeing that happen makes your heart so full of love. Especially with kids who aren’t privileged or have difficult lives, cadets can give them a focus and purpose they never thought was possible. What they can achieve with us is absolutely phenomenal.

I’m reminded of a young man I worked with who used to be very challenging in primary school. He was on the verge of being permanently excluded.
After a year or so at cadets he had changed. He ended up at one of the best secondary schools in the country, got a scholarship in music and even played in the Albert Hall. He’s gone on to do so much with his life as a result of that encounter with police cadets.

There’s a massive gap in the education system in our country.
One thing they miss out on is core discipline, self-respect, respect for society – knowing the elements of what a community needs in order for it to stabilise itself and function properly within society. That’s not implemented at the centre of their education. If it was, I think we’d have a better society that respects its police service.

For somebody my age in society right now joining the police isn’t easy.
Young people often see the police in a different way – they want to stand against them.

I do my very best to show them that the police do what they do for the benefit of society. They think their mission is to annoy them, when it’s actually for the sake of the public.

We have meetings with youth leaders who are very anti-police.
We invite them into the police station and ask what they would change about how we operate, in order to make them feel safer and do our jobs better. For some of them it’s the first time they’ve been into a police station without being arrested. They all came up with really good, valid answers.

When the Grenfell fire happened, our cadets tried to bring the community back together.
We tried to do as much as we could. Because many of our cadets live in that community, they chose to wear the Metropolitan Police uniform and go out there. It was important, at that moment, that people saw our faces and met us as people who really care about this community.”



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