Volunteer Police Cadets

Volunteer Police Cadets scheme for 13 – 17 year olds

Are you a young person aged 13 – 17 who is looking for the opportunity to learn new skills, do something proactive in your spare time over the next two years and make a difference to your local community? If yes, why not apply to join the West Yorkshire Volunteer Police Cadets? 

The next programme will run from September 2024 until July 2026. It is open to young people aged 13 – 17 across the West Yorkshire area. 

Joining the cadets will give you the opportunity to: 

  • Learn new skills & enhance your CV
  • Help your local community
  • Complete the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards
  • Take part in activities and events
  • Make new friends
  • Gain an insight into policing
  • Take part in DofE expeditions 

The cadets meet once a week on a weekday evening during the school term and take part in additional activities such as volunteering on evenings and weekends. The programme is linked to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), and you will be given the opportunity to achieve the Bronze and Silver DofE Awards. 

There are seven cadet units: three in Bradford, one in Calderdale (Halifax), one in Kirklees (Dewsbury), one in Leeds and one in Wakefield. 

To find out more, follow our current cadets on social media


How to apply 

  • Be 13 – 17 years old
  • Be in school year 9 or above from 1st September 2024
  • Live in the county of West Yorkshire
  • Obtain consent from your parent/guardian


Sorry the recruitment window for applicants for September 2024 is now closed - after an unprecedented number of applications.


What happens next?

Your application will be checked and, if you meet the criteria, you will be invited to an Awareness Day. Spaces are limited, so you will need to complete your application form early to avoid disappointment. 

At the Awareness Day you will have the opportunity to ask questions and find out if the scheme is for you. There will be a presentation, team building activities and an informal chat with the cadet leaders.

The cadet unit will contact you after the Awareness Day to let you know if you have been offered a place on the programme. 


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE)
    The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) offers young people aged 14 – 24 the opportunity to start a life changing adventure and develop key life skills over three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. There are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level: Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition. You can find out more about the DofE Award here What is the DofE? - The Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
  • How long does it take to complete the Bronze & Silver DofE Awards?
    It will usually take you at least 6 months to complete Bronze and another 6 months or more to complete Silver after finishing your Bronze Award.
  • Why do I need to be in school year 9 or above from 1st September? 
    You need to be in school year 9 or above from 1st September to register for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. 
  • Can I apply before my 13th birthday?
    Yes, you can apply if your 13th birthday is before 1st September 2024. If your 13th birthday is on or after 1st September 2024, you will not be eligible to apply for the programme this time.
  • How much does it cost to join? 
    It is free to join. 
  • Do I need to pay weekly subscriptions?
  • Do I need to pay for uniform?
    Uniform is provided. However, you will be asked to provide your own pair of black boots/shoes. 
  • Do I need to bring my own kit for the DofE expeditions?
    You will need to bring your own clothing, food, toiletries and personal items such as a sleeping bag. We will provide group equipment such as tents, stoves and rucksacks. You will receive a full kit list when you join the scheme. 
  • Do I need to be interested in joining the Police to apply? 
    You do not have to be interested in joining the Police to apply for the scheme. 
  • Will I have a career in the Police if I become a cadet?
    Being a cadet does not guarantee you a career in the Police in the future. 
  • Can I apply if I have already completed the DofE Award? 
    Yes, you can apply to the scheme if you have already completed the DofE Award. However, if the unit you would like to join is oversubscribed, preference may be given to young people who have not had the opportunity to do the DofE before. 
  • What do the weekly sessions involve? 
    • Interactive sessions or a talk by a guest speaker. 
    • Learning drill manoeuvres and how to parade. 
    • Team building activities.
    • DofE expedition training. 
  • What kind of volunteering events can I do? 
    The cadets take part in a wide range of volunteering activities within the local community. 

    Examples include: 

    • Local fairs and galas 
    • Charity events
    • Crime prevention awareness 
    • Litter picks
    • West Yorkshire Police events 
    • Tree planting 
    • Test purchasing 

    You can find more examples on social media.

  • Can I apply if I have been in trouble with the Police?
    Yes. We will ask you if you have had any contact with the Police at the Awareness Day and you will have the opportunity to explain the circumstances to us. 
  • What happens to my data? 
    You can view West Yorkshire Police’s privacy information notice here Privacy Information Notice.



West Yorkshire Police’s Volunteer Police Cadets programme is a safe environment for all young people, which operates in line with the National VPC Safe to Operate Standards. We are committed to protecting our cadets from all types of safeguarding issues and follow the National VPC’s Safeguarding Policies.

All adult cadet leaders are vetted by West Yorkshire Police and have an Enhanced DBS check. They also receive safeguarding and professional standards training.

All activities are risk assessed and have suitable insurance cover. Parents/guardians will be asked to complete a health and consent form for activities.

If you have any concerns about a cadet or a cadet leader, you can raise them using the contact details below.

Further guidance for parents/guardians is available here Using after-school clubs, tuition and community activities - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).


Mission Statement

Our Vision & Values

We aspire to be a safe, diverse and inclusive youth initiative for young people in West Yorkshire that empowers young people to make a positive contribution to their local communities and develop key life skills based on the values of British policing.

We hope to inspire young people to achieve the four national objectives of the Volunteer Police Cadets, as set out in the National VPC Strategy 2020 – 2024.

  • Making a difference in local communities, building character, confidence and contribution through youth-led social action.
  • Actively helping divert young people away from negative influences and crime.
  • Building trust and confidence between young people, their communities and the police.
  • Enabling young people to have a real voice and influence in building a positive, relevant 21st century policing.

We will support young people to develop the skills they need to become good citizens and achieve their ambitions both within and outside of policing. Although the scheme is not a direct entry route into a policing career, we will encourage young people to remain within the policing family and to follow in the footsteps of former cadets who have become police officers, police staff and volunteers with West Yorkshire Police.  

Should you require any require further information about the programme, please contact [email protected]


Page last reviewed April 2024.

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