Sussex Police partners with Army Cadet Force as part of early intervention scheme REBOOT
Young people involved in criminal behaviours across Sussex will be offered the opportunity to join the Army Cadet Force to help them turn their lives around.
The scheme, which launches on November 1, is linked to REBOOT, the unique early intervention programme started by police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne in April 2019.
Sussex Army Cadet Force leaders say many existing cadets have come from troubled backgrounds and joining has given them structure and opportunities to enable them to thrive.
Colonel David Steele, the commandant, said: “Sussex ACF provides unique life-skills training and challenging activities for young people throughout Sussex and becoming a partner organisation with REBOOT is a natural fit that will help those young people referred to us move forward positively in life.
“We are very much looking forward to working with the REBOOT team.”
REBOOT is a Sussex Police led programme that works with partners to reduce the risk of young people becoming either the victim or suspect of crime.
A total of 1,099 young people were accepted on to the five-stage programme last year, having come to the attention of Sussex Police for anti-social behaviour, drug using, being expelled from school, etc.
Interventions by police officers at their home was the first stage but if their behaviour escalated, they were assigned a youth coach and taken through the other four stages of the programme.
Now, stage one will include the offer of joining the cadets. The Sussex ACF currently has 794 cadets and 171 adult volunteers across 25 locations. Young people are taught leadership skills, discipline and the ability to command tasks and make decisions under pressure, while working towards achieving an Army Proficiency Certificate.
Acting Police Sergeant Roisin Vafaee, REBOOT operational lead at Sussex Police, said: “We are delighted that young people joining REBOOT can now take up the chance to join the Sussex ACF as part of their personalised programme.
“The huge range of opportunities that this will bring to our young people will enhance the skills and qualifications available to them as they are supported on the programme.”
The new recruits will all be issued with a uniform and will learn basic military training, including drills, fieldcraft, skill at arms and first aid and adventurous training such as kayaking, mountain biking and abseiling.
They can also gain valuable qualifications such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, BTEC First Diploma in Public Services or the ILM Certificate in Team Leading.
Parents who were at the end of their tether have said their children have changed since they found cadets, which has been a big relief.
One existing cadet said: “I was in a gang and I thought it was great as they were like my family but then a friend took me to cadets. I was angry with myself that I wasted my time doing bad things and now I’m a cadet and a non-commissioned officer. It’s brilliant and I hope to join the army.”
Mrs Bourne said she wants to see the young people from REBOOT get the opportunity to have fun in a safe and structured environment, learning new skills and engaging in positive relationships.
She added: “The Sussex Army Force Cadet’s motto is ‘To Inspire, To Achieve’ and I think that this is a fitting description for how they interact and encourage the young people they work with.
“I want to give vulnerable young people in Sussex, who come to the attention of the police, a variety of opportunities to turn their lives around for the better.
“What better way is there to access positive role models than working with trained officers in our armed forces? It is a wonderful way for these young people to make friends, change their behaviour and learn the skills they need for a brighter future.”
To learn more about REBOOT, visit www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/reboot