Number: C2102 Date Published: 18 December 2020 Version 3 – December 2020
1.0 Summary of Changes
This procedure has been updated on its 2 yearly review as follows:
Within section 2 reference is made, and a link given, to the new National VPC Safeguarding Policy
Section 3.1 has been removed as it described the unit when newly launched;
Within section 3.2.1 uniform details have been added for nights/activities.
2.0 What this Procedure is about
This procedure will provide Volunteer Leaders of Cadet Units with information and guidance relating to the following aspects of the Volunteer Police Cadet activities scheme:
3.1 Unit structure;
3.3 Weekly meetings;
3.4 Volunteer Leaders;
It is also aimed as a source of reference for supervisors and managers within the organisation who have contact with VPC Units.
See the National VPC Safeguarding policy which has been adopted by the Force.
Compliance with this procedure and any governing policy is mandatory.
3.0 Detail the Procedure
3.1 Unit Structure
Based on having 25 cadets per Unit, they will be divided into two teams. Ideally each team should contain 12 cadets.
Each Unit should have a designated Head Cadet and two Deputy Head Cadets (one per team).
The implementation of a rank system provides structure, discipline and aspirational goals for cadets. Rank will be denoted by wearing a badge bearing cadet name and rank as follows:
Deputy Head Cadet;
Deputy Team Leader.
No Cadet, no matter what their rank or experience will ever be considered to “outrank” any VPC Leader, police officer, PCSO, Special Constable or police employee.
3.1.2 Roles and Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities that may be allocated to cadets with rank:
Overseeing organisation, instruction, minor discipline, sanctions and rewards, drill, point of contact for cadets with issues, role model, organise and deliver lessons/training. Maintain log of voluntary hours completed by the Unit and supply this to the Unit co-ordinator on a monthly basis. Social media monitoring.
Deputy Head Cadet
Organisation, report/work with the Head Cadet, discipline, sanctions and rewards, organise and deliver lessons/training, support the Head Cadet in their role. Deputise for the Head Cadet in their absence. Responsibility for leadership of teams assigned to them.
Presence, discipline, leads their team by example, checks team training records, drill and leads cadets. Identifying cadets in their team who have failed to attend meetings and informing Cadet Leaders.
Deputy Team Leader
Discipline, cover for Team Leader in their absence, work with Team Leader, uniform checks, leads cadets.
Cadets will be issued with their full uniform by the end of the VPC induction programme.
During the induction period new cadets should wear the shirt, trousers and shoes from their school uniform in order to appear smart and “uniform”.
It will be made clear to cadets that their VPC uniform remains the property of Essex Police and that its return can be required at any time by the VPC coordinator or their delegate.
The VPC supports the wearing of religious objects and clothing and allowances should be made to accommodate their wearing.
Each VPC Unit will hold a sizing set of uniform items and will issue uniform directly to cadets who will be required to complete a sizing form.
Blue Shirt, L/S, Blue
Blue Shirt, S/S, Blue
In addition, a pool of at least 10 reflective jackets will be retained by each unit for occasional use at outdoor events in inclement weather.
Cadets will supply their own black footwear, which should be strong, smart, serviceable and appropriate to uniform wear. It should be made from leather or imitation leather of a plain pattern without embellishment or exaggerated shape.
Socks should be dark blue or black.
Cadets should report any damage or disrepair to their Unit Leaders who will consider the need for replacement.
The above uniform is for Parade and formal events, cadets will also be issued with the following Essex VPC branded clothing for unit nights/activities where it is more suitable:
Baseball Cap x 1
Hooded top x 1
Polo Shirt x 1
Cadet uniform will be disposed of in accordance with disposal of other items of police uniform which can be found within X 2001 Procedure – Provision of Uniform and Equipment. Items that should be considered for disposal and placed in the designated disposal bin located at each BCU are all items classed as obsolete i.e. not ‘current issue’
Items that should be returned to Uniform Stores are as follows:
Any item unworn;
Any worn or unworn ‘current issue’ body armour.
Items returned to Uniform Stores should be via the internal mail delivery system or in person.
3.2.3 Wearing of Uniform
Unless express authority has been obtained previously, uniform clothing may not be worn other than for official duties.
Cadets will not wear uniform unless engaged on VPC activities and under the supervision of a VPC Leader. Cadets must not appear in any commercial filming production outside of VPC organised or authorised events in uniform or part of uniform without express permission.
In acknowledgement of the current security threat level and the associated guidance within Operation Javelin, cadets will not, under any circumstances, travel to or from cadet activities wearing their cadet uniform.
Cadet Leaders should specify what clothing cadets are to parade in for a meeting or event. The term “uniform” means “all the same” and this is the appearance that must be portrayed.
The beret should be fitted in the following manner:
Ensure the beret is the correct size;
Don the beret so that the edge binding (headband) is one inch above the eyebrows and fits straight across the forehead. The beret should be firm fitting across the head;
Centre the badge above the left eye;
Pull the excess material down to the right side so that it touches the right ear but does not extend below the middle of the ear;
Tighten or loosen the adjusting ribbon for a secure fit;
Tie the adjusting ribbon into a non-slip knot and cut off the ends;
Tuck the ribbon knot inside the edge binding at the back of the beret.
Note: Hair may not be packed into the beret, nor should it extend below the bottom edge of the front of the headgear or below the bottom edge of the back collar.
When not on the head the beret may be rolled and placed under the left epaulette with the badge to the front.
Requests to wear religious headwear should be accommodated.
Should a cadet for religious/belief reasons have so much hair that the wearing of a beret is impossible then allowance should be made for this.
Consideration must be given to the fact that some cadets may require a long sleeve top as part of their religious observance.
Any clothing worn under the shirt must not be visible at the neck or sleeve.
In hot weather, when in long sleeves the sleeve may be neatly folded up to the elbow with the permission of the Unit Leader for the event. In this event a tie should still be worn when in public facing roles.
Cadet Leaders may come across situations where some female cadets are not allowed, due to religious or cultural reasons, to wear trousers.
In these cases advice should be sought from the VPC coordinator.
22.214.171.124 Body Armour
The issue of body armour to cadets is not supported by the National VPC and will not be issued to Essex cadets.
If a deployment is so hazardous that body armour is required, then it is too hazardous and therefore inappropriate to utilise cadets.
126.96.36.199 Care and Standards
Uniform should be smart, clean, ironed and in good order whenever worn.
Uniform should be worn in its entirety, never in part.
Boots or shoes should be shined to a high gloss by “bulling” for formal parades and inspections and be clean and shined at all other times.
New cadets should be instructed in uniform care as part of their induction.
3.2.4 General Appearance
Cadets will maintain a high standard of personal appearance and must be clean, neat, tidy and professional in appearance in accordance with procedures outlined in C 0602 Procedure – Standards of Appearance.
Cadets must not chew gum or smoke whilst in public facing roles. When the type of work involved makes a formal standard of dress impracticable, any clothing worn must be presentable and appropriate to the work or activity.
Cadets are not permitted to smoke or chew gum in uniform whilst in the public view.
Unless on identifiable religious grounds, long hair must be neatly and securely fastened up and worn relatively close to the head for safety reasons. Any hair bands, clips, ties or accessories must be plain, and the colour in keeping with the main uniform.
An 'unshaven', i.e. stubble appearance is not desirable. Full beards or moustaches are permitted. In the absence of the above, cadets will be expected to be clean shaven.
Cadets will wear their berets at all times when in the open air. Cadet Leaders will wear flat caps.
Any potential cadet recruit who has a visible tattoo which could be construed as being offensive to any religion or belief, or is in any way discriminatory, violent or intimidating, will not be accepted to join Essex Volunteer Police Cadets. An existing cadet who gets themselves tattooed in this way may become subject to disciplinary proceedings and may be dismissed.
Potential cadets with tattoos above the collar and on the hands which fall outside the above category will be assessed on an individual basis. A photograph of the tattoo will be obtained and the decision on whether to accept the individual will be referred via the VPC coordinator to the relevant Chief Officer.
Tattoos that are deemed permissible are not required to be covered.
No jewellery should be worn which would cause injury to self or others, or which might cause offence, or would cause any member of the public to doubt the professionalism of the individual. The wearing of body jewellery such as tongue studs, nose studs, and eyebrow jewellery is not permissible unless it is part of strict religious or ethnic dress requirements. Individual items of other jewellery must not depict words, letters, symbols or pictures which may cause offence to individuals or sections of the community.
Male cadets will not wear earrings. Female cadets may only wear discreet earrings and only one item per earlobe.
Only one discreet tie pin may be worn when in uniform. This should be of a suitable size and the design or logo must not depict any words, letters, symbols or pictures likely to cause offence to individuals or sections of the community. Name badges and medal ribbon brooches are the only other badges which may be worn when in uniform.
Expensive personal items, including jewellery, should be discouraged at cadet events.
Nails must be kept to a short length suitable for the duty being performed. Cadets should be mindful of the injury that may be caused to themselves or others by excessively long nails. Nail varnish should be pale or clear. No other nail decorations may be worn.
Sunglasses will be of a plain design and they will not be mirrored. Sunglasses, unless medically prescribed, should not be worn when talking to members of the public.
3.2.5 Loss or damage of Uniform Items
Loss or damage of uniform items must be judged on individual circumstances. Cadets who have clearly not cared for their uniform or not stored it appropriately may be disciplined for any loss or damage and/or asked to pay for a replacement.
There have been occasions where cadets have taken another cadet’s uniform in order to cover their own loss or damage and discipline procedures should be in place to deal with this.
Theft of a cadet’s uniform should be reported on a crime report and a criminal intelligence report due to the potential security issues associated with this.
3.2.6 Other Clothing/Products
At this time the VPC logo is owned by the Metropolitan Police Service and ultimately by the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. The use of the logo by the National VPC team has been authorised by MOPAC, the MPS Department for Media and Communication and Intellectual Property Department. However, at this time there can be no commercial or profit making activities or transactions made in relation to this logo. This means that any item that is provided to cadets which holds the VPC logo must be provided at cost or below.
By allowing this use, the National VPC has been placed in a position where they are “Brand Guardians” and so must oversee its use and challenge inappropriate uses. This includes unauthorised alteration or adaptation of the logo.
Permission on the use of the logo on any item must be put through the National VPC central team in order that its use can be monitored. Some items may not be appropriate to hold the logo or may be restricted in their use. The Essex VPC Coordinator for is responsible for overseeing and approving all submissions for use of the logo. The logo must never be used in conjunction or on the same product as any inappropriate logos, slogans or pictures.
3.3 Weekly Meetings
Meeting venues are at the discretion of the Force VPC coordinator and the Unit’s District Commander. Consideration must be given to the following:
Health and safety;
Geographical location/access to transport links;
Facilities and equipment available for use;
Out of hours access;
Value for money.
The venue must have adequate facilities to accommodate the full range of cadet activities and be large enough to accommodate a minimum of 25 cadets, or Unit establishment if greater.
Venues must have suitable public liability insurance (usually £5 million) and relevant risk assessments must be in place.
The use of police buildings for cadet meetings is discouraged due to the benefits associated with operating at neutral premises.
The decision to meet during the school holidays will be at the discretion of the Unit Leader. However, it should be noted that holiday periods are when the young people we work with are most in need of diversionary activities, so it is desirable that VPC meetings and activities should continue during school holidays as supervision and accommodation allows.
As a minimum there should be at least one meeting or event for cadets to get involved in every week during holiday periods. This may include camps and competitions, Duke of Edinburgh activities etc.
If the usual venue is not available then the meeting may be held elsewhere, as long as the Unit Leader and cadets’ parents are aware, and the appropriate risk assessments, permission forms etc. have been completed.
3.3.3 Insurance for Weekly Meeting Venues
All activities must be fully risk assessed and insured. Local service insurance and health and safety policies should be consulted and complied with in order to protect the safety of the cadets and leaders. Any queries should be addressed through the Business Centre.
Cadets will attend every weekly meeting unless they have a valid reason (validity will be assessed by the Unit Leader).
Cadets must inform their Unit Leader at the earliest opportunity if they are unable to attend a meeting.
Failure to attend three consecutive meetings without a valid reason will be considered “Persistent Misconduct” and result in a review of the cadet’s membership.
Similarly, failure to achieve an average of 80% attendance over a year will result in a review of the cadet’s membership. Consideration should always be given to any extenuating circumstances such as long-term illness, exams etc.
If a cadet who is deemed to be at risk fails to attend a cadet event, leaders must consider calling them to check upon their welfare. Similarly, if a cadet fails to attend an operational event then a welfare call may be appropriate.
Some cadets and leaders may require exemption from attendance for observance of certain religious or cultural occasions. These may vary from year to year and it is therefore for the cadet or leader to provide early notice of these events so that the abstractions can be planned for.
New cadets will follow the national 12-week VPC initial induction programme.
Cadets will complete this induction course before they are “confirmed” as cadets. Upon completion of the induction course, cadets will attend a passing out parade and be presented with their beret and attestation certificate.
Once established, unit leaders may wish to consider giving responsibility for delivery of the induction course to senior cadets.
3.3.6 Structure of Weekly Meetings
Essex Police have purchased the national VPC workbooks which follow the national syllabus.
In practice, a weekly meeting may take the following order to ensure that attention is focused, and the necessary elements of the Duke of Edinburgh Award requirement are followed.
Units should parade at the beginning and end of the meeting. The first parade must include a roll call for fire safety.
Meetings should be in three main parts, those being drill, instruction and physical training. However, the structure of individual meeting may change dependant on the content or availability of VPC Leaders or equipment.
All cadets who are capable of taking part in drill will do so. Drill builds team work and discipline, and can also be used to inspect the cadets’ appearance and uniform standards. It can also be used as the “skill” section for the DofE.
Any cadet who is not able to take part in the drill should be encouraged to learn to “call” the drill sequences so as not to feel excluded.
Drill Instructors should work to the cadet drill manual, available from the National VPC forum. By using a common type of drill, it will enable a competitive element to be introduced between forces.
Cadets should be encouraged to become independent in their drill, with older more experienced cadets teaching the newer and less experienced. Drill may be adapted to take into account the needs of individual cadets.
One of the main purposes of the VPC programme is to promote a practical interest in policing and a sense of adventure in young people, while providing them with skills and qualifications which will equip them throughout their lives.
The syllabus should seek to address those policing issues which are likely to have a particular impact on young people.
Topics that are covered within the national workbooks include:
Stop and Search;
Offensive Weapons/Points and Blades;
Public Order / Anti-social Behaviour;
Equality, Diversity and Human Rights.
To what extent these topics are covered will be a local decision. A number of lesson plans in various forms for all of the above can be found on the National VPC Forum accessible via www.nationalVPC.org.
188.8.131.52 Guest Speakers
Units are encouraged to arrange visits from specialist units both within and external to the organisation, however these must compliment the expected learning outcomes. Inputs may or may not be directly related to policing.
184.108.40.206 First Aid
Units are encouraged to deliver first aid training to their cadets, as often the public has an expectation that a representative of the Police Service at any level will be equipped to render assistance in an emergency. First Aid is also a requirement of the DofE “expedition” section. The provision of this training will be for local arrangement, but suggested sources are the Force first aid trainers and St John Ambulance peer educators.
220.127.116.11 Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
Essex Cadets will be encouraged to enrol on the DofE award scheme, which is currently operated on Essex Police’s behalf by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Much of the award is already achieved through normal cadet activities.
18.104.22.168 Physical Training
All Cadet Units should include, as part of their meeting nights, some form of physical activity.
At least one-person present will hold a Community Sports Leaders Award (CSL2) or equivalent sports coaching qualification. CSL2 is specifically designed to take into account the abilities and physical requirements of young people and is the preferred qualification.
Any cadet that holds a relevant sports leadership qualification may lead physical training sessions, as long as they are directly supervised by a VPC Leader. That VPC Leader does not need the CSL2 but must monitor the risk and hazards and be in a position to stop the activity if necessary.
The use of the “Job Related Fitness Test (JRFT)”, the “Bleep Test” or any variation of it is discouraged due to the risk of injury to the young person.
22.214.171.124 Illness and Injury
Inevitably situations will arise where cadets fall ill or get injured whilst at cadet meetings. The first consideration should always be the provision of proper care and first aid. These incidents should be documented and treated in a manner compatible with local risk assessments and Health and Safety procedures, and a PERS 35 form completed.
3.4 Volunteer Leaders
Any person wishing to join the VPC who is 18 years or older may apply to become a full VPC Leader.
3.4.1 Police Employees
The vast majority of young people who join the VPC do so through an interest in policing. To keep cadets engaged it is vital that they receive positive leadership and interaction with members of the policing family. In this way and through pro-social modelling the organisational values of the police can be instilled into cadets.
The VPC can support local operational policing, and in this way the VPC provides an “added value” to the service.
In reciprocation, Essex Police will support the VPC scheme by allowing employees and officers who are VPC Leaders a limited amount of duty time to undertake VPC duties.
VPC Unit Leaders, Assistant Leaders and Youth Engagement Officers will be allowed time to volunteer as part of their duties. Abstraction from normal duties is via agreement with the individual’s line manager.
Chief Officers have agreed that these employees be allowed up to 2 hours per week from their contracted hours to assist in VPC activities, up to a total maximum of 100 per year. These hours will normally be expected to be used for supervising cadets during events in support of local policing and community projects.
In return for this concession, it is a requirement that these individuals will volunteer at least an equal amount of their own time in support of these and other cadet activities (weekly meetings, camps and trips etc.).
This time cannot be “banked” and must be managed quickly, or as duty time on the day. Employees granted this allowance should keep track of their hours working with the VPC with clear demarcation between voluntary hours and paid hours. They should also note what activities they were performing for those hours.
The VPC Coordinator has responsibility for monitoring and auditing volunteering hours.
Police officers and other staff will be considered to be 'on duty' (whether or not they are receiving payment for the full time they are engaged in the activity) for insurance purposes when performing this supervisory role.
A clear demarcation must be made between which are paid hours and which are voluntary. Volunteer Leaders will email RMU when working VPC duties, who will log hours worked onto SAP as either VPC duty or VPC voluntary.
Applications to become a Volunteer Leader will be made on form A57 as expressions of interest to the local District Commander. In accordance with national guidance, applications may be weighted towards those that could fill a skills vacuum within the Unit.
The application may outline why they wish to become a VPC Leader, any previous experience with the VPC or other youth organisations and any skills that they have that may be relevant to the role.
On receipt, the local District Commander will conduct a selection process and ensure that necessary checks and references are undertaken prior to an individual being appointed. Such checks will include vetting confirmation, eCRB checks, performance, attendance and discipline to ensure that the role is appropriate for the individual in question.
3.4.3 Special Constables
Officers from the Special Constabulary should be encouraged to join the VPC as Leaders given their predisposition towards volunteering. Many Special Constables bring skills and qualities from their fulltime job that will benefit the Unit and the cadets.
Special Constables may use their VPC Leader hours towards their required Special Constabulary hours.
Special Constables who wish to become VPC Leaders should apply on A57 as above.
All Volunteer Leaders will be vetted to NPPV Level 2, and subject to DBS/eCRB checks in addition to any previous vetting they may have been subject to.
It is the responsibility of the Force VPC coordinator to ensure that all VPC Leaders have this clearance and that it is current. They must retain an up to date list of vetted Leaders with clearance dates. A record of all Volunteer Leaders will be kept on SAP.
New members of VPC Leadership who have joined and are awaiting vetting clearance must not have “unsupervised access” to cadets. They must, at all times, be present with another VPC Leader who is youth supervision cleared.
VPC Leaders will be asked to sign a Statement of Expectation.
Many of the hours given over to the running of the VPC are voluntary and therefore it is difficult to impose a minimum expectation of what hours leaders must do voluntarily. However, leaders must be reliable and honour commitments that they have made. It is unacceptable for leaders to volunteer to attend events and then fail to attend, as this places the safety of the cadets and other Leaders at risk. Events can be cancelled if the minimum requirements for leaders stated on the risk assessment are not met.
Leaders are informed at the time of application that the expected time commitment is between 4-6 hours per week, with a minimum commitment of 12 months.
How many hours staff and officers give voluntarily is a personal choice, however those people who commit large numbers of voluntary hours will be the ones who are rewarded with the more desirable opportunities available to leaders such as training, equipment and trips away. This is the reason the different type of hours worked with the VPC will be logged.
Leaders who take training opportunities and equipment supplied by the VPC will be expected to give a minimum period of support of twelve months to the cadets in return for these opportunities.
Cadet Leaders whose conduct in terms of their reliability and punctuality begin to affect the running of cadet events may be asked to stand down.
3.4.6 Trial Periods
There are specific skills and character traits that are required to work with young people, especially those who are vulnerable. Not all people are cut out for a role as a VPC Leader. For this reason the VPC coordinator may consider imposing a period of assessment for a leader.
If at the end of the period of assessment the VPC Coordinator feels that the person is not suited to the role, then they should consider implementing an action plan or assigning the Leader member a different role. If neither of these is successful, then the Coordinator may consider releasing the Leader.
3.4.7 The Role of the VPC Coordinator
This is a paid post, currently filled by a part-time Inspector.
The main role of the Force VPC Coordinator is to develop a structure of Leaders around them who between them manage the functions outlined below. The VPC Coordinator will not manage all of these functions but will merely oversee the Leaders they assign to perform them.
This will give each Leader the ability to become a specialist in their function areas and develop a sense of “ownership” thereby improving their performance and ensures there is no repetition of work as the boundaries between responsibilities are clearly defined.
The Force VPC Coordinator’s key functions include:
Liaison with senior officers;
Volunteer, Special Constabulary and local policing liaison;
Local partnership engagement including Local Authorities, youth services;
Tasking and development of operational opportunities;
Recruitment and selection of Leaders;
Health and Safety;
Child Protection and cadet welfare;
Leader discipline and, in serious cases, cadet discipline;
Compliance and quality assurance;
Representing Force-wide VPC at meetings as required;
Oversight of finance;
Coordination of all other functions.
Close relationships with the Volunteer Manager and Special Constabulary is essential for Leader recruitment and organisation of joint events and operations.
The Cadet Coordinator role is a very different one from that of Cadet Leader. It may be that due to the duties of Coordinator direct face to face contact with cadets is limited.
3.4.8 Role of the Volunteer Leaders
126.96.36.199 Unit Leader
The Unit Leader is responsible for the running and administration of a Cadet Unit. Their responsibilities include:
Leadership of leaders and cadets;
Oversee cadet disputes and discipline matters;
Selection of VPC Leaders in partnership with Force VPC Coordinator;
Manage cadets promotion process within the unit;
Leader discipline as appropriate;
Liaison with Force VPC management team;
Identification of alternative funding streams;
Welfare of leaders and cadets including child protection issues;
Represent Unit at meetings;
Act as an additional point of contact or as a deputy to Force VPC Coordinator;
Dissemination of information as appropriate;
QA of statistical returns;
Facilitate the smooth operation of each weekly meeting;
QA all risk assessments, permission forms and authorisation documents;
Manage the DofE within the unit;
Oversee unit spending;
Liaison with Force Coordinator.
188.8.131.52 Assistant Leader - Training
Identify training needs and communicating such to appropriate departments;
Identify suitable training options;
Identify training opportunities and distribute appropriately;
Assigning of Leader mentors as required;
Develop an annual training plan;
Maintain leader training records;
Maintain cadet training records;
Implement cadet induction programme;
Facilitate DofE delivery - Support DofE group leaders;
Delivery of the cadet training programme;
Manage any in-house training;
Prepare cadets for tests / assessment;
Prepare cadets for competitions;
184.108.40.206 Assistant Leader – Administration/Finance
Ensure all records of training by cadets and leaders are maintained. This includes DofE, cadet training and leader training;
Logging and storage of documentation (permission forms, event forms etc.);
Overseeing upkeep of leader contact details;
Maintaining contact details for cadets including name, address, phone, email and next of kin;
Assist head cadet to organise local panel of cadets to represent all cadet’s views;
Administration of authorised Unit computer based networking site;
Maintain cadet event diary;
Maintain unit accounts spreadsheet and handle petty cash/subs through local administration department;
Submission of all paperwork related to VPC activity;
Ensure cadet leaders have all documentation for day’s events;
Upkeep and submission (via Force VPC Coordinator) of Unit’s statistics;
Submission of news items for any VPC newsletter.
220.127.116.11 Assistant Leader - Operations
Organise unit camps and trips;
Single point of contact for tasking process;
Collate and disseminate required information for events;
Completion of risk assessments;
Identify leaders/cadets as required for event;
Distribution, collection, quality assurance and storage of Health and Permission forms;
Manage/lead and QA all camps, competitions, and operational activities, both local and central;
Disseminating information to Leaders regarding camps, competitions and local events;
Proactive planning of operations with partner organisations, both internal and external;
Work with the Assistant Leader – Administration/Finance to appropriately submit all paperwork related to VPC activity, including risk assessments;
Organise and/or lead all operational deployments of the cadets from their unit;
Acquisition of equipment required for operations.
18.104.22.168 Former Cadets
Cadets who have attained the age of 18 should be encouraged to become cadet leaders. If they progress to full VPC leader status it must be decided if this would be best in the unit where they have been a cadet, or in another unit. Cadets should have been in service for at least a year before making the progression to Cadet Instructor.
Former cadets making the transition to Leader will be subject to normal Leader vetting, which includes DBS/eCRB checks.
Cadet Leaders must never be in a personal relationship with a cadet. A cadet who is in a relationship with another cadet when they turn 18 cannot become a Cadet Leader until either: a) the relationship ends or b) their partner ceases to be a cadet (either by leaving the VPC or when they also turn 18).
VPC Leaders have a specific role in that they are present on all occasions to ensure the safety and welfare of cadets. For this reason Cadet Leaders are issued with a separate uniform to be worn for VPC activities only. The leader uniform is similar to the cadet uniform, but with white shirts and flat cap/bowler instead of beret.
VPC Leaders who do not have direct or frequent contact with cadets (for example in administrative roles) do not have to be issued with or wear VPC Leaders uniform.
As role models for the cadets, VPC Leaders should have equal if not higher standards in their appearance than the cadets. As part of pro-social modelling leaders should present the image that they expect the cadets to imitate. VPC Leaders are expected to comply with existing Force dress codes and standards of appearance as far as applicable to cadet activities.
Leaders are expected to attend meetings in uniform unless exceptional circumstances apply, or the nature of the planned activity requires alternative dress (role play/physical training).
VPC Leaders should not wear their VPC uniform outside of VPC activities.
All VPC Leaders should attend a VPC Induction Day as early in their VPC service as possible. Training will include the following, plus any locally relevant training/information:
Aims and Principles of the VPC;
Youth leadership skills;
Child Protection / Safeguarding;
Disclosure of Information / intelligence;
Further Leadership training for Leaders who have regular contact with young people should be made available in the form of:
Specialist Child Protection awareness.
As part of the programme, VPC Leaders may also be trained in some of the following, as funding/opportunity allows.
Introduction to DofE;
DofE Expedition Supervisor;
DofE Expedition Assessor;
Basic Expedition Leader (SLUK);
Walking Group Leader;
C1/D1 minibus driving.
Many of these courses have a significant cost implication attached to them, and therefore consideration will be given to the likelihood of making good use of them and the commitment of those to be trained before they are purchased. Some of the courses may be available through the National VPC in due course.
Training opportunities will first be given to those VPC Leaders who are reliable and have proved their commitment to the VPC. As previously stated, leaders who are provided these training opportunities may be expected to commit to a minimum period of regular service to the VPC.
Leaders who gain or already hold any of the above skills should be asked to provide proof of their qualifications as part of the safeguarding procedure and skills database will be maintained centrally for all VPC Leaders.
The following “functions” are required to run a Cadet Unit.
Camps and trips;
DofE expedition training;
Health and safety/risk assessment;
The Force Coordinator and Unit Leader will identify a Volunteer Leader who is responsible for each of the above functions (Leaders may hold more than one function), and it is that Leader’s responsibility to ensure compliance and effective performance in that function. The Force Coordinator will oversee the Leaders who perform these functions. Many of these functions fall naturally into the remit of the Deputy Unit Leaders, but they may of course be assisted / supported by other leaders as well.
This section only applies to breaches of the VPC discipline code and should in no way be used to replace existing formal Force discipline regulations or criminal proceedings if the circumstances require.
The Volunteer Police Cadets is a disciplined youth organisation with a rank structure, discipline code and statement of expectation to reinforce this ethos.
As a uniformed youth engagement programme the Essex Volunteer Police Cadet scheme is a disciplined organisation for both cadets and Volunteer Leaders, and discipline must therefore be maintained
This below guidance is intended mainly for use at VPC Unit level. Where incidents of unacceptable behaviour occur at a VPC activity which is not unit-led (camp, training course, etc) then the senior officer in charge of the activity or training centre should make a written report to the VPC Unit Leader of the Cadet’s Unit, who will deal with the matter in accordance with this guidance, seeking further clarification from senior officers if necessary. The adult supervisory staff member in charge of the activity or training centre should not take any formal action against the cadet but may bar him or her from elements of the programme or elect to send the cadet home. If the cadet is sent home, then normal travel arrangements should be made, and parents/guardians informed in advance.
22.214.171.124 Duty of Care
Cadet events should run on a schedule that has been set by the event organiser and agreed by the VPC Leader responsible for the event.
Cadets are in the care of the VPC Leaders from the time of their arrival at, or after the appointed parade time, until the end of the event. It is accepted that finish times may have to be flexible due to travel delays etc.
Cadets who arrive early will be asked to wait until the appointed start time until they are allowed access to any event/premises. If however a VPC Leader is available to supervise the cadets then they may be allowed access to a venue earlier than the start time, and at this time, the VPC Leader takes responsibility for their safety.
The question of what action is required when a cadet removes themselves from a cadet activity is dependent on the circumstances. An 18yr old cadet who leaves a cadet meeting and is perfectly capable of making their own way home needs no care, however a 14-year-old who absents themselves while on an outdoor expedition leaves us with a duty of care to ensure their safety.
Decisions on this type of situation should be considered on a case by case basis and appropriate action taken.
126.96.36.199 Code of Conduct
This section should be read in conjunction with the statement of expectations for cadets.
If a cadet is unable to attend a weekly meeting he/she will inform a VPC Leader before the meeting;
The VPC Unit Leader will review the membership of any cadet who fails without notice to attend meetings on three consecutive weeks;
Cadets issued with uniform will ensure that when required it is brought to every meeting, along with suitable PT kit for physical exercise, unless otherwise directed by a member of VPC Leadership;
Cadets will treat all Leaders, guests and other Cadets with respect at all times. Inspectors and above and members of the public will be addressed as "sir" or "ma'am", sergeants as "sergeant" and other VPC Leaders as "staff";
Any cadet who gives a pledge to attend a VPC commitment must do so unless some exceptional reason prevents it, in which case a member of VPC Leadership must be informed as soon as practicable;
Subscriptions must be paid promptly. Any persistent evasion of payment must be investigated by the VPC Unit Leader;
Uniform is not to be worn in public unless under the direct authority of a member of a VPC Leader for a specific VPC event;
Any Cadet whose behaviour at any time may bring Essex Police or the VPC into disrepute, or displays an adverse image of the VPC shall have their membership reviewed;
Essex VPC will not tolerate any discrimination on the grounds of an individual’s nationality, gender (including transgender), race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or disability;
Bullying, aggressive, overbearing or violent behaviour will not be tolerated.
188.8.131.52 Physical restraint
Cadet Leaders may in extreme circumstances find themselves in a position where they must use physical force on cadets to protect themselves, others, or even the Cadet themselves in the event of self-harming.
This may of course be perfectly justified within law, but this justification must be recorded in writing. Those VPC Leaders who have not been trained to make original notes must provide a statement. Any use of force should as always be “reasonable in the circumstances” and necessary.
A report of the incident must be compiled at the earliest opportunity by the Unit Leader and submitted to the senior officer in the area with responsibility for cadets. Updates to this report should also be submitted until that senior officer is satisfied the matter has been resolved adequately.
In addition, a letter to the Cadet’s parent/guardian will be drafted, and will explain:
What force was used on the cadet;
Any first aid/medical intervention that was required as a result of the use of force;
The fact that the matter has been referred to a senior officer;
Contact details of the senior officer in case they wish any further information;
Any sanction against the cadet that has been decided immediately and the format of any future discipline action.
As well as excellence, cadets should be rewarded for improvement and achievement individually against their own personal circumstances. Rewards might include inclusion on the more attractive operational events, and camps and trips away. Rewards should be announced openly in order that their distribution remains transparent and challengeable and so there is no hint of favouritism.
Under no circumstances will any VPC Leader or cadet require or allow any cadet to perform any kind of physical punishment or “reward”. The use of physical punishment is archaic and is ineffective in the correction of inappropriate behaviour. The National VPC does not under any circumstances condone its use.
Any sanctions should be imposed as close to the time of the misconduct as possible and appropriate to the offence.
184.108.40.206 Restorative Approaches
The VPC as a programme is built on a restorative approach to conflict and misdemeanour, and the safety and prevention of crime and conflict is of paramount importance. Failure to challenge poor behaviour appropriately and consistently suggests that such behaviour is acceptable. Applying a restorative approach to all conflict / poor behaviour is based on the understanding that young people can often display challenging behaviour, and will often make mistakes as part of growing up, so it is important that they have the opportunity to learn from these experiences and do so in a safe environment.
Implementing a restorative process, when done so effectively, may often be sufficient to resolve conflict, repair harm and prevent further harm. However, there may be times when a restorative approach isn’t an appropriate form of disposal on its own but can be used to compliment other disciplinary or criminal proceedings. Restorative approaches training should be made available to Cadet Leaders whenever possible.
220.127.116.11 Local Disciplinary Procedures
A cadet must report immediately to their Unit Leader if he/she receives a summons, order or other notification that criminal or civil action is being taken against them, or they are to appear at any court as a witness. They must also inform the Unit Leader if they are the subject of a stop and search or stop and account.
If a cadet is charged, bailed or summonsed for a criminal offence they will be suspended from the VPC.
Coordinators and Unit Leaders have the authority to suspend a cadet until such time as deemed appropriate.
A discipline board will comprise the VPC Coordinator with a minimum of two other VPC Leaders, or the manager with responsibility for cadets in that area.
An emergency discipline board may compromise any three VPC Leaders, at least one of which must be from the Cadet’s Unit. The decision of an emergency discipline board will stand until reviewed by a local discipline board which may ratify, adapt or overturn the decision of the emergency board with documented justification. This justification will be circulated to the members of the emergency discipline board for information. Any board’s decision may be reconsidered if further evidence is received.
Cadets may appeal against the board’s decision to the area district commander, responsible for the VPC. This review will be paper based but the Chief Inspector may reserve to right to see the cadet in question and other relevant parties.
Discipline records are to be kept for at least seven years after the end of a cadet’s service.
18.104.22.168 Unacceptable Behaviour
The best way to prevent unacceptable behaviour is to reinforce good behaviour. The emphasis should be on reward and incentive rather than the use of sanctions. Rewards are important and help cadets to see that good behaviour is valued. The most common reward is praise; a simple acknowledgement is a very powerful motivator.
VPC Leaders should not assume that cadets automatically know how to behave whilst taking part in VPC activities; they will not always be aware of the standards of behaviour required from cadets. Neither can they be expected to fully understand all of the influences that act upon a child’s behaviour or development.
It is also important to consider whether disruptive or unacceptable behaviour during an activity is related to the activity itself. Young people who are not fully engaged become bored and distracted very easily and this can lead to a breakdown of discipline. Clearly defined and mutually understood boundaries can prevent unacceptable behaviour. The boundaries are explained clearly in the VPC Code of Conduct, which is issued to cadets and parents/carers/guardians during induction. It is the responsibility of staff to ensure that a mutual understanding exists and that cadets feel a sense of ownership.
22.214.171.124 Involvement of Parents/Guardians
Where the actions of a cadet are causing concern then the Unit Leader should always consider inviting the parents or guardians to the unit for a discussion.
This may or may not coincide with administrative/disciplinary sanctions. The Unit Leader should outline those concerns and try to agree a way ahead.
It is important that Unit Leaders:
Explain unacceptable behaviour to cadets clearly and effectively;
Demonstrate that fair, consistent and proportionate penalties will be applied to instances of unacceptable behaviour;
Discuss and agree on actions to be taken by cadets, leaders and parents/ guardians to avoid unacceptable behaviour re-occurring
‘Unacceptable behaviour’ can be broadly defined as a breach of the Cadet Code of Conduct. Such breaches can vary in their degree of seriousness and it is important that VPC Leaders apply common sense and moderation. A mild rebuke may be all that is required. However, contraventions of the Cadet Code of Conduct are never acceptable and should be dealt with firmly and consistently.
Where incidents of unacceptable behaviour warrant only a mild and/or immediate rebuke this would be considered to be advice or a verbal warning, but both should be recorded. Where the breach is of sufficient gravity to warrant formal action then it must be reported to the Unit Leader who should decide on a course of action. Guidance is given in the following tables on whether such breaches are considered minor, moderate or serious and on what actions should be taken. All actions taken are subject to local management discretion, in consultation with the District Commander and/or Force VPC coordinator if appropriate. All action taken should be recorded for audit trail.
Table 1 - Minor Breaches
Minor breaches of the Code of Conduct will be dealt with by the Unit Leader. Engage with parent/guardian of the cadet. A breach may include: poor behaviour, absence from place of duty, creating a disturbance, minor dishonesty, smoking, use of inappropriate language, etc.
To be recorded.
To be recorded. May be combined with the loss of a privilege or not being permitted to take part in a unit activity.
Consistent repeated occurrences
First written warning
To be recorded. May be combined with the loss of a privilege or not being permitted to take part in a unit activity.
Further written warning
For Supervisory Cadet, consider demotion or exclusion from the unit for a set period, or both.
Inform VPC coordinator.
Table 2 - Moderate Breaches
Moderate breaches of the Code of Conduct will be dealt with by the Unit Leader. Engage with parent/guardian of the cadet. A breach may include leaving the unit without permission, minor bullying, verbal abuse, brawling (not resulting in injury), lying or dishonesty, disobedience of an order. In the case of repeated occurrences the VPC coordinator should be consulted.
To be recorded. May be combined with the loss of a privilege or not being permitted to take part in a unit activity.
First written warning
Letter to parent/guardian (if under 18)
For Supervisory Cadets, consider demotion or exclusion from the unit, or both. Initial exclusion period should be for 2 weeks but may be extended to one month by the VPC coordinator depending upon the nature of the breach.
Consistent repeated occurrences
Further written warning
Letter to parent/guardian (if under 18)
Consider further exclusion from the unit for up to 3 months – to be authorised by VPC coordinator.
Consider dismissal in consultation with VPC coordinator and District Commander.
Table 3 – Serious Breaches
A serious breach of the Code of Conduct should be dealt with by the Unit Leader and VPC Coordinator. Engage with parent/guardian of the cadet. A breach that would be considered serious might include vindictive and/or sustained bullying, fighting or assault resulting in injury, vandalism, theft, etc (but see note below).
(NB Where it is considered that a criminal offence has been committed then the following does not apply. The matter should be reported to the Police and the District Commander & the cadet should be excluded, without prejudice, immediately and parents/guardian notified. No further action is to be taken until confirmation is received that the police investigation is complete.
First written warning
Letter to parent/guardian (if under 18)
Consider demotion for Supervisory Cadets or exclusion from the unit or both. Exclusion period may be for up to 6 months. Exclusion can only be authorised by the VPC coordinator.
May also consider recommendation for immediate dismissal in consultation with the VPC coordinator.
Final unequivocal written warning
Letter to parent/guardian (if under 18)
Consider demotion for Supervisory Cadets or further period of exclusion.
Consider dismissal in consultation with the VPC coordinator. Only the VPC coordinator or District Commander may dismiss a cadet.
126.96.36.199 Counselling and Verbal Warnings
Counselling and verbal warnings should be conducted in private by the Unit Leader and never in front of other cadets, although the cadet should be given the opportunity to have a “friend” present if he or she wishes. There must also be another VPC Leader present, ideally of the same gender as the cadet. This meeting should not be conducted in an overly formal manner and should not be an intimidating process. The Cadet’s age and development should be considered. Cadets should be put at ease and the nature of the misdemeanour explained. The cadet should be given every opportunity to explain, apologise or offer mitigating circumstances. Open questions may be used to establish or clarify facts but there should be no interrogation (aggressive questioning), threats, tricks or coercion.
Parents/guardians of cadets should be informed in advance and invited to attend. If this is declined, that fact must be recorded.
188.8.131.52 Written Warnings
Written warnings should:
State clearly the nature of the misdemeanour or misbehaviour;
In the case of repeated misbehaviour, refer to previous warnings issued;
Detail any penalties awarded;
State the consequences of further misbehaviour.
A copy of the written warning should be handed to the cadet in the presence of a VPC Leader. The content should be explained so that the cadet fully understands its implications. The cadet is to sign a copy to certify that he or she has received it and this must be retained on file. A copy should also be posted or handed to the parents/guardians together with a covering letter if necessary.
The number of warnings issued is at the discretion of the VPC Coordinator; however, repeated warnings do not work, become ineffectual and their value diminishes. Three written warnings over a 2-year period should normally be the maximum before dismissal is considered.
It is entirely appropriate for breaches of the Code of Conduct to be penalised.
The penalty/sanction must always be proportionate to the misdemeanour and may be in the form of exclusion, demotion, loss of privileges, etc. Penalties should always be recorded in the VPC Unit sanction record.
If a cadet is under consideration to be dismissed from the VPC, a meeting should be arranged with them and the parents or guardians to inform them of this and the reasons behind it. If they choose not to attend they should be informed of the decision in writing.
When a cadet responds positively to disciplinary/administrative action then that should always be acknowledged.
At any and all stages of managing discipline and misconduct, restorative approaches may be considered. A note of all disciplinary actions must be made in the relevant page of the cadet’s record of service book and full details recorded in cadet’s personal files.
Cadet may be suspended for a minimum of one week. There is no upper limit for suspension as Court cases may go on for many months. However, the cadet must be informed of when the suspension will end if possible, even if there is no date attached to this (i.e. “when the case against you is disproved or NFA’d”). A record of the suspension including the reasons, the names of the VPC Leaders making the decision, the period of suspension, and any action plans formulated for the return of the cadet must be placed on the cadet’s file.
184.108.40.206 Dismissal Procedure
The dismissal of a cadet should never be taken lightly. However conversely, failing to dismiss cadets who no longer deserve a place in the organisation can prove counter-productive. Anecdotal evidence makes it clear that those coordinators who rigidly adhere to a discipline code have fewer discipline issues and have better attendance levels. If a cadet is threatened with disciplinary action that never materialises then other cadets may believe that the behaviour that led to the threat is acceptable.
Dismissal will be recorded in the same way as suspension on the cadet’s file (see above). Notification of the dismissal will be sent to the Chief Inspector with responsibility for cadets in the area for review. There is anecdotal evidence of cadets being dismissed from one Unit and attempting to join another Unit. This should be guarded against by cross Unit communication of the fact of the dismissal, but not the details.
Dismissed cadets must surrender their entire uniform as soon as practicable. Refusal to surrender a uniform will be considered a theft and dealt with as such. All necessary legal and appropriate steps will be taken to reclaim the Uniform. Corporate Vetting Unit will be notified of any Cadet who is dismissed.
Police staff and volunteers are to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times, projecting an image of fairness, honesty, efficiency, smartness and cleanliness. They should display high standards in the use of language, manner, punctuality, preparation and presentation. This encourages cadets to display the same qualities and maintains a healthy, professional working relationship.
220.127.116.11 Pro-Social Modelling
It is vital that VPC Leaders demonstrate the behaviour that we wish our cadets to mirror. By setting expectations of cadets we must set them for ourselves equally, or to a higher standard. In this way any discipline action will be seen as fair and even handed.
By this token, it is important that a discipline code is set out for VPC Leaders as well as cadets and that disciplinary action is open and seen to be done when this code is breached.
18.104.22.168 Cadet/Leader Relationships
It is accepted that interpersonal relationships will form between Cadet Leaders and their cadets. However, it must be understood by all that this relationship is a professional one and boundaries need to be established and adhered to at an early stage. VPC Leaders are expected to be friendly towards but not be friends with Cadets. Personal phone numbers and email addresses must not be exchanged between leaders and cadets. Social interaction outside of cadet events between Cadet Leaders and cadet is prohibited. Under no circumstances will any Cadet Leader be in a relationship with a cadet.
Unwarranted physical contact should be avoided as it may be misconstrued on either part or by outside observers.
Cadets should refer to Cadet Leaders as “Staff <Family name>”, e.g. “Staff Smith”. Cadet Leaders should not allow cadets to address them by their first names as this type of familiarity will make the application of discipline difficult when necessary.
22.214.171.124 Code of Conduct
This section should be read in conjunction with the Leader’s Statement of Expectation.
A VPC Leader will attend all engagements that they have committed to attend. If they are unable to attend they will inform another VPC Leader as soon as practicable before the event;
The Force VPC Coordinator will review the status of any Leader who fails without notice to attend events on three consecutive occasions;
VPC Leaders will treat all other Leaders, guests and cadets with respect at all times. Inspectors and above and members of the public will be addressed as "sir" or "ma'am", sergeants as "sergeant" and other VPC Leaders as "staff". cadets will be referred to as “cadet <family name>”;
VPC Leaders issued with uniform will ensure that it is brought to every meeting;
Uniform is not to be worn in public unless attending an authorised VPC event;
Any VPC Leader whose behaviour at any time may bring the Police Service or VPC into disrepute or displays an adverse image of the VPC shall have their status reviewed;
The VPC will not tolerate any discrimination on the grounds of an individual’s nationality, gender (including transgender), race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or disability;
The VPC will not tolerate any bullying, aggressive, overbearing or violent behaviour;
VPC Leaders are not permitted to smoke or chew gum in uniform whilst in the public view. VPC Leaders will not drink alcohol while supervising cadets.
126.96.36.199 Written Warnings
A written warning will consist of a description of the breach of conduct/discipline, the date of the event, the name of the VPC Coordinator or senior office dealing, any mitigation, and an action plan for the Leader. The warning and any action plans should be signed by the Coordinator/manager and the Leader, accepting the incident occurred and the terms of the action plan.
A Leader may refuse to sign the written warning and request a discipline board if they feel that they have not been dealt with fairly.
188.8.131.52 Discipline Boards
For Cadet Leaders, discipline boards will be made up of the Cadet Coordinator for the Unit, an experienced Cadet Leader and the District Commander, Chief Inspector from the area with responsibility for cadets.
In the case of Cadet Coordinators requiring disciplinary action via a discipline board, the Chief Inspector from the area with responsibility for the cadets may deal with the situation personally or may request assistance from up to two experienced VPC Leaders if they feel a full board is appropriate.
184.108.40.206 Dismissal of VPC Leaders
In the event of a Cadet Leader being dismissed, a record of the circumstances must be made and entered on the Leader’s record. A copy of this justification should also be supplied to the VPC Coordinator, for recording.
If appropriate, the volunteer, special constabulary or line manager should also be informed of the circumstances of the dismissal.
Dismissed Leaders will be required to surrender their VPC Uniform at the earliest opportunity. Refusal to do so will be treated as a theft.
4.0 Equality Impact Assessment
EIA – December 2020
5.0 Risk Assessment
In-depth details regarding risk assessments for any planned cadet event including consultation and site visits and how to conduct these risk assessments can be found within C 2101 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets – Recruitment section 3.10
The following have been consulted during the formulation of this document:
Health & Safety;
Uniform Review Group;
Child Abuse Investigation;
Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator
Strategic Change Team
7.0 Monitoring and Review
This procedure will be monitored and updated by the Force VPC Coordinator.
Updates from the National VPC team will be included in any updates as the VPC programme develops within the Force. Review will be every two years.
8.0 Governing Force policy. Related Force policies or related procedures
C 2100 Policy – Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC)
C 2101 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets – Recruitment
C 2103 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets – Administration and Communication
C 2104 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets - Operations, Events and Court Attendance
C 2105 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets - Trips and Duke of Edinburgh Award
X 2001 Procedure – Provision of Uniform and Equipment
C 0602 Procedure – Standards of Appearance
B 2505 Procedure – Dealing with Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses within the Criminal Justice System
G 0600 Policy - Managing External Media
C 3011 Procedure – Private Use of Social Media Websites
D 2000 Policy - Safe Driving
D 2001 Procedure – Safe Driving and General Driving Requirements
8.1 Data Security
Essex Police have measures in place to protect the security of your data in accordance with our Information Management Policy – W 1000 Policy – Information Management.
8.2 Retention & Disposal of Records
Essex Police will hold data in accordance with our Records Review, Retention & Disposal Policy – W 1012 Procedure/SOP - Records Review, Retention and Disposal.
We will only hold data for as long as necessary for the purposes for which we collected. Victims/public should be reminded that Essex Police take the protection of personal data seriously as described in the privacy notice.
9.0 Other source documents, e.g. legislation, Authorised Professional Practice (APP), Force forms, partnership agreements (if applicable)