From a young age, Jake wanted to be a police officer. He wanted to help people and stop criminals.
Despite struggling with shyness, anxiety, and a lack of self-confidence, Jake’s desire to be a police officer pushed him to join the Thurrock volunteer police cadet unit in 2021.
Initially, Jake’s lack of confidence and severe anxiety made it really difficult for him to interact with his fellow cadets and leaders. He’d often choose not to get involved in activities and found it difficult to make friends.
But just over two years later, Jake has undergone an incredible transformation, and through his sheer courage, determination, and hard work, he was named Essex Police Cadet of the Year for 2023 – a huge accolade within our cadet programme.
“I had no idea I’d won Cadet of the Year,” said Jake. “When my name was read out at the awards ceremony, I just felt like jelly, “I think it has to be my favourite moment of being a cadet so far because it sums up everything I’ve achieved over the last two years and shows just how far I’ve come”
Through his involvement with the police cadet programme, Jake has overcome a lot of his fears and anxieties. He now uses his experience to help and support others, who find themselves feeling nervous or struggling.
“Being a police cadet has given me a lot of confidence and self-belief,” said Jake. “I’ve achieved loads including my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. I’ve gained a load of mates and I try and mentor new cadets who might be going through the same things I was feeling when I started. “I now volunteer to lead activities, help with events, ceremonial occasions and policing activities. “I like to try and keep my teammates motivated too by making them laugh. These are all skills I can take with me into my policing career.”
For anyone thinking about joining the Essex Police Volunteer Police Cadet Programme, Jake thinks you should do it, especially if you lack confidence.
“Even if you’re not interested in policing like I am, or don’t want to become a police officer, you should still join. “There are loads of fun opportunities. With the support of your cadet friends and leaders, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve. “You’ll gain confidence and self-belief too and find that one day you’ll be leading the activities rather than trying not to be noticed.”