It was an afternoon of celebration yesterday after our very own Blaenau Gwent Police Cadets scooped a national prize at the National Crimebeat Awards 2019 when they came joint third in the Youth Led Award - This is for groups where the idea for the project came from the young people who are then also responsible for running the project.
The winners were announced at the prestigious ceremony at the Royal National Hotel, London. Our Cadets were joined by Blaenau Gwent Inspector, Amanda Thomas and Sergeant Neil Pigeon, as well as Superintendent Mike Richards and Citizens in Policing Coordinator, Laura Ellis.
National Crimebeat is the youth crime prevention charity of the High Sheriffs’ Association and is governed by trustees who are mainly former High Sheriffs. National Crimebeat focuses on providing a prestigious annual awards ceremony to give recognition to the most innovative and successful crime prevention projects carried out by young people aged between 5 and 25 years.
In February this year, the Cadets received the news that they had made it through to the finals held in London last night (Wednesday 13th March 2019) after a nomination from the High Sheriff’s Office in Gwent, following the outstanding work of the Cadets in the community of Blaenau Gwent which helped secure a place in the finals.
The nomination highlighted the work undertaken by the Blaenau Gwent Cadets to help the elderly and vulnerable to protect themselves from becoming a victim of doorstep crime after hearing about a 85-year-old victim in the area.
In June 2018, Cadets from the Blaenau Gwent unit were assisting the local Neighbourhood Policing Team when they heard of an incident that had just taken place involving an 85-Year-old woman who had been the victim of a doorstep crime. The elderly victim had innocently paid two men to cut down an over grown hedge, paying them a substantial amount of money but unfortunately received no service.
The Cadets instantly took an interest in the incident and how the crime was going to be investigated. They took it upon themselves to research doorstep crime, the types of crime categorised as doorstep crime and what they could do to prevent further incidents happening - they wanted to make a difference to the Blaenau Gwent community.
Speaking about the work, Inspector Amanda Thomas explains: “I am immensely proud of the work of the Blaenau Gwent Cadets week in, week out in the area. Their dedication and professionalism is admirable and to attend these awards with the Cadets is such a privilege. The cadets have been instrumental in breaking down barriers between generations, and delivering vital messages to our residents. They truly are part of the police family here in Blaenau Gwent.”
PCC for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert explains: “The Blaenau Gwent Cadets are doing a fantastic job in their community. Not only are they are helping to prevent crime and support vulnerable people in their area, they are building relationships and trust between the different generations.
“Their commitment and enthusiasm is evident, and the professional way they have approached their work is a credit to each of them. I am delighted that they have been recognised with this award and would like to congratulate them all on their success.”
High Sheriff of Gwent, Sharon Linnard explains: “Blaenau Gwent Police Cadets have comprehensively demonstrated the positive results that membership of a well-run uniformed youth group can deliver both to the young people themselves and to the communities in which they live. I am impressed at the way the Cadets embraced the ethos of the VPC movement and enthusiastically worked to develop life skills and positive behaviours.
“In The Odyssey Project, they then applied their personal competencies and discipline to tackling a criminal behaviour which affects so many in our communities. With careful research and thought, they developed and implemented a model which is transferable to other areas of the County and they are following this through. In a community where positive role models are much needed, the Blaenau Gwent Police Cadets have proved an outstanding example to others.”
What the Blaenau Gwent Cadets did…
In just one afternoon, they knocked over 100 doors, to take the time to speak with elderly and vulnerable residents. The Cadets attended community groups where they talked to pensioners about doorstep crime and keeping safe. They soon identified that Ebbw Vale, the largest town in the community didn’t have any ‘No Cold Calling’ signs and were keen to raise awareness and to work in collaboration with partners to have signs erected, particularly in areas that had large numbers of vulnerable residents.
How the Blaenau Cadets went about this…
The Cadets created a survey to take to two separate locations, one location was already identified as a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’ and it had clear and identifiable signs on entering the street. The Cadets took time to speak and survey the residents. In the area that had the signs, it was quickly identified the residents were proactive in their fight against doorstep crime. The residents were aware and would monitor the visitors to the street. The cadets identified that if there were unusual vans in the location they would either approach them or call the police. This knowledge helped to decrease the number of doorstep crimes in the location and reduced the number of rogue traders visiting the street.
The Cadets wanted to promote this good citizenship across other areas in Ebbw Vale. They identified a community who didn’t have the signs, this particular area was in a small community in Rassau, Ebbw Vale. The Cadets attended and promoted doorstep crime, speaking to residents and educating them on the types of doorstep crime that could affect them. The cadets provided the residents with literature and stickers, more often than not assisting the residents to display the stickers before leaving the property. The Cadets also put in to practice the knowledge they had learnt from various lessons, they were giving guidance on crime prevention, being safe and giving the correct to contact for help.
A huge congratulations to all 15 cadets for their work and making a difference to the Blaenau Gwent community.