TEENAGE police cadets celebrated the completion of their training programme this week and will soon be deployed alongside officers in the community.

The North Swindon VPC Cadet unit has been running since February 2014 and is the first police cadet unit to operate in Wiltshire since the 1980s.

The group is made up of 19 young people aged 13 to 17 who are all from schools in the North Swindon area.

An Attestation Ceremony held at Gablecross Police Station on Thursday marked the completion of the cadets’ basic training and, after a break for the summer holidays, they will be deployed alongside officers and members of the Special Constabulary in various community events and activities alongside their continued programme of learning.

Chief Constable Pat Geenty said: “Young people sometimes get a bit of unfair criticism and our cadets should be proud of what they have achieved in completing their basic training.

"I think they will be a real asset to the force in terms of engaging with the community alongside our other officers.”

Angus Macpherson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “Volunteering is something that is very close to my heart and is an important element of my Police and Crime Plan.

“I’m thrilled to see this Volunteer Police Cadets scheme up and running and hope to see it rolled out across the county over the coming months.”

Sergeant Steve McGlynn is the Youth Engagement Lead for Wiltshire Police and has been involved with the North Swindon VPC unit. He said: “This event goes to show what great young people we have in our county.

“It’s been agood experience putting the cadets through their paces – they’ve had a lot to learn over these last few months and have taken the challenge head on.

"Seeing our cadets interacting with members of the public during the recent solstice operation showed how much they have grown in confidence and ability since they first joined us. I’m really looking forward to seeing them do more of that in the future.”