Thursday, 2 June 2016

Cadet to Deputy Commander

Chief Inspector Dave Gilbert
Deputy  Commander, Bracknell & Wokingham 

I joined the Metropolitan Police Force as a cadet when I was 18-years-old.

Back in 1984 the police cadets worked slightly differently to how they do nowadays. I was part of a new one year paid cadet scheme which was full-time and residential.

It was a great experience as it not only gave me the opportunity to learn about the core foundations of policing but it also enabled me to meet people from all walks of life, including my fellow cadets and members of the community.

As a unit we spent four months doing community service; two in a day centre for elderly people in High Gate and the other two months working in a school with young people with mental health issues.

One of the things I’ll never forget from my time in the day centre is being offered a drink by one of the elderly women and receiving a mug of methylated spirit. Needless to say I didn’t take her up on the offer!

My favourite thing about being a cadet was how physical it was, we used to play at least three sports a day and on one occasion we took part in the 7 Peaks Challenge in Wales. Relentlessly climbing up and down mountains for 12 hours was very character building and taught me never to give up.

After completing my year I applied to be an officer for Central London Police. The experiences I gained as a cadet was invaluable in helping me to secure this position and I guess the rest is history.

In 1997 I moved over to Thames Valley Police on promotion to Sergeant and have worked in various roles in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire since. In 2013 I was appointed commander for Bracknell local policing area and this year I became the deputy commander for the newly merged Bracknell and Wokingham area.

Being a police cadet was one of the best years of my life! I made loads of great friends and the knowledge and experience that I gained during this time set me on track to reach the position I’m in now where I’m lucky enough to have my own unit of cadets working for the LPA.

This is a brilliant scheme and the hours and commitment given by our cadets truly are amazing. I would recommend anyone who is in interested in policing to get involved and who knows, one day you could be sat where I am.

To find out more about the scheme and how you can become a Cadet or Cadet Leader visit our website.

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