Derbyshire Police Federation

Volunteer with us, encourages cadet co-ordinator

14 December 2023

A cadet co-ordinator who was a former police cadet himself is encouraging more of his colleagues to volunteer with the inspirational young people.

Derbyshire Police Federation member, PC Mark Paternoster has given an insight into working with the cadets and he says seeing the journey the youngsters go on fills him with so much pride.

And now Mark is hoping to recruit more volunteers to help run the cadets, as he explains how demand to join is at an all-time high.

“Cadets spending a few hours a week with the group could turn out to have such an impact on them choosing the right paths in life - it so often sets them up for the big wide world,” said Mark.


PC Mark Paternoster (centre) with fellow cadet leaders.


“And that is why we do it. If we can be even a small part of their journey then that is an absolute privilege.

“You see these young people leave the cadets as confident individuals which is fantastic to see.”

Mark took on the role of cadet co-ordinator in 2019, having previously been a cadet himself as a teenager.

He says that the cadet programme provides young people with unique opportunities, offering them fun but informative sessions.

Young people between the ages of 13 and 18 can join the cadets, with 85 in the group as it stands - with multiple schemes across the county.

“There’s no shortage of demand,” explained Mark.

“At the moment, we have on average four potential cadets apply for every one place - which is why I’m encouraging my colleagues to consider volunteering with us.

“We have 29 volunteer cadet leaders at the moment but the more we can recruit, the more young people we can support.”

Earlier this year the group embarked on their first residential trip, which saw the youngsters take part in multiple physical and team-building activities including abseiling, climbing and kayaking.

“It was so rewarding,” continued Mark, adding: “And of course, very tiring - but it is well worth it.

“As well as the fun bits, the four-day trip was about learning too. The team had to cook their own food, tidy and wash up”. 

“The reality is though, that for some of the group, that was their holiday - that was their only opportunity to get away. The residential gave them something to look forward to.”

Mark said that in some cases, the cadets offers young people much-needed ‘structure’. He said: “It might be that their life is pretty chaotic, and the cadets gives them a focus, an element of organisation.

“For so many, the cadets gives them a sense of purpose. It provides them with a safe, warm environment, for a few hours a week.

“Of course, it’s important to remember that the cadets isn’t about recruiting future cops. While it’s nice when our cadets want to join the police but it’s bigger than that. The whole idea of the cadets is to develop their spirit of adventure and encourage them to become good citizens.

“So often, they leave with skills that they can use later in life.

“And of course, the relationship works both ways - the police can learn a lot from the cadets too. The cadets learn to trust the police and we get an insight into the issues young people are facing today.

“It’s also an opportunity for the Force to capture the voice of young people in Derbyshire.”

If you would like to become a volunteer with the cadets then get in contact with Mark by emailing him on

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June 2024