Suffolk Police / Emergency Services Cadets


Suffolk Police’s volunteer police cadets and Emergency Services Cadets are an important part of the extended police / fire family.

Their role is to help progress current policing initiatives in the local community. They assist with events including the Suffolk Show, town fairs, carnivals and charity events.

They also support the important work of safer neighbourhood teams and are taught basic knowledge in a variety of policing activity.



Fire cadets

The aims of the scheme are:

  • to promote and encourage a practical interest in policing / emergency services work among young people
  • to provide training which will encourage positive leadership within communities
  • to encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship.

What will young people get out of the scheme?

Young people who join our cadet schemes will get the chance to develop skills that will assist them in the job market, encourage good citizenship, help them to make positive life choices, and influence the shape of the community and the police / Fire service of the future.


Current vacancies

Applications to join the cadets are accepted at any time - to apply see below. 

Accordion Title
Accordion Text

What does a police cadet do?

Police cadets help and assist in the community by assisting with local events such as fairs, town shows, carnivals and other local events. They help with high profile events such as the Suffolk Show.

Police cadets also help the local safer neighbourhood teams through leaflet drops, crime prevention initiatives, community safety events and street surveys.

They are taught basic knowledge in a variety of policing activity. This includes law, for example: definitions of robbery, burglary, theft, public order, Police and Criminal Evidence Act, along with arrest and custody procedures. Cadets will also get an insight into how to deal with a road traffic collision, first aid, officers safety, conflict management, the caution and stop and search powers.

Suffolk Police has a big interest in teamwork within the cadets, which is why we also practice and perfect the discipline of drill. We take pride in our uniform and cadets are taught how to be disciplined and independent on how to clean and maintain high standards.

Cadets also have the opportunity to visit different departments in the police service, such as Air Support Unit, Dog Section, Firearms Unit, Roads Policing and Scenes of Crime unit.

What will I learn?

Each cadet will be provided with a development and training programme, containing achievable time related tasks. Each individual will be expected to complete the tasks as set out within a set period of time. This will include activities related to station duties, knowledge of localised community operations and selected tasks related to assisting local safer neighbourhood team staff.

Cadet leaders will monitor each cadet’s development. Achievements will be rewarded by the presentation of certificates when agreed milestones have been attained.

How old do I have to be to join?

The scheme recruits young people between the ages of 13 and 16 years. Young people can remain cadets within their unit until their 18th birthday.

Do I have to have any qualifications or skills?

You don’t need any experience, skills or qualifications to be a cadet. All we ask is that you commit to attending regularly, and strive to improve yourself and your local community.

Can I still join if I have special needs?

The scheme welcomes young people of all abilities. If a recruit has special requirements this will, wherever possible be accommodated, if necessary using the support of a carer provided by the cadet.

Will you look into my family and background?

All potential cadets will be vetted. The purpose of this vetting is not to routinely exclude any young person from membership but rather to allow the cadet leaders to manage any potential risk that is highlighted.

I don’t live in Suffolk can I still join?

We are only able to offer places to young people living in Suffolk. Each unit is linked to a local policing command. Young people wishing to join should be resident within the local policing command area. If you live outside Suffolk please contact your local police force to see if they run a cadet scheme. You can do this by calling in at your local police station or contacting the force through its website.

Are there open days?

We currently do not offer open days.

Where is my local unit and how do I contact them?

The numbers of units across Suffolk is growing. You can contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team for details or email: [email protected]

I’m too young to join what else can I do?

Alternative options to police cadets are the service cadet schemes - army, air, sea, or other youth uniform organisations such as the Scouts, Guides, Boys’ Brigade, Girls’ Brigade, and St John’s Ambulance. There should be local provision in your area offering excellent activities and opportunities for young people. Additionally, you may wish to contact your local authority about other youth provision in your area.

I’m too old to join what else can I do?

There are other volunteering opportunities within Suffolk Police including the Special Constabulary and Police Support Volunteers. See the ‘Join Us’ section on this website.

How often do cadets meet and where do the meetings take place?

Cadet meetings will take place on police premises. However, where a unit is not able to meet at such premises (either short term or long term) other suitable premises may be used.

The meetings will take place weekly throughout the year and be around two-hours long. There can be organised activities outside of this core meeting time both during weekends and school holiday times. However, no activity shall be organised which would encourage cadets to be absent from a place of education during normal term time.

A cadet may leave at any time. If a cadet exhibits unacceptable behaviour that breaches the code of conduct, they may be requested to leave. If the cadet is below 17 years then a parent or guardian will be contacted and involved in the process.

How much does it cost?

Even though the cadets are a voluntary organisation we do ask cadets to give a small amount of money to the unit through weekly subscriptions. This will be used to cover some basic running expenses. If individuals have particular financial difficulties then a resolution can be discussed through with the local leaders.

What equipment/uniform do I need?

There is no specific equipment you need to join the cadets. We provide a uniform to cadets at no cost. However, you will have to provide black shoes/boots. We recommend bringing a pen and pad to write down notes when at cadet meetings/events.

Can I just go along and see what it is like?

You will need to speak to the leaders to arrange to go along.

Will it help me join the Police Force?

The Volunteer Police Cadets Scheme will provide you with an insight into policing; however, it will not specifically assist your application.

Can I still join if I have been in trouble with the police?

In most cases the answer to this is yes. However, each case will be considered on merit.

What is different about Emergency Services Cadets?

Emergency Services cadets are run in a partnership between Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service and they do everything that Police Cadets do plus they have the added benefit of having training on Fire Service work such as ladder / hose drills and Fire Safety. Currently our Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill units all run as Emergency Services Cadets.

Where is my local unit and how do I contact them?’:

Suffolk Cadet Units:

Martlesham Cadets-  Thursday 7-9pm, Suffolk Police Headquarters

Ipswich Cadets– Thursday 7-9pm Landmark House, Ipswich

Bury St Edmunds Cadets- Thursday 7-9pm Alternate between the Police and Fire station

Lowestoft Cadets– Thursday 7-9pm alternate between the Police and North Lowestoft Fire Station

Sudbury Cadets – Saturday 2-4pm Sudbury Police Station

Haverhill Cadets – Wednesday 7-9pm Haverhill Fire Station

Mid Suffolk (Stowmarket) Cadets – Thursday 6:45-8:30pm Stowmarket High School

Forest Heath (Mildenhall) Cadets– Saturday 10am – 12 St Mary’s Primary School

Accordion Title
How the scheme runs
Accordion Text

Management of the scheme

Each cadet unit will be managed locally, with the local policing commander having overall responsibility for the day-to day running of their individual unit.

Cadet leaders

Cadet leaders are volunteers recruited from within Suffolk Police and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service - they can be any rank or grade, including special constables and police support volunteers.

Cadet rank structure

Each unit will be formed into sections and there will be a maximum of four named: blue, yellow, green and red.

Each section is lead by section leaders, denoted by one silver bar on their epaulettes. Units may decide to appoint section leaders in other roles, for example, to take responsibility for training/mentoring new cadets.

Each unit will also appoint a senior cadet denoted by two silver bars on their epaulettes, who will be responsible for mentoring and guiding the section leaders.

Accordion Title
Accordion Text

Duration of training

During the first 12-month period, cadets will follow a training and development programme.

Each cadet will be expected to complete the tasks within a set period of time. This will include activities related to station duties, knowledge of localised community operations and selected tasks related to assisting local safer neighbourhood team staff.

Cadet leaders will monitor each cadet’s development. Achievements will be rewarded by the presentation of certificates when agreed milestones have been attained.

If a cadet leaves the scheme after serving one year or more, they will receive a certificate stating the length of time served as a member of the cadets and an assessment of their character covering their cadet service.

Training and activities include:

Making a positive contribution

  • Community engagement activities
  • Supporting safer neighbourhood teams
  • Community projects
  • First response to an incident

Economic well being

  • Law
  • Crime reduction
  • Managing money

Staying safe

  • Personal safety
  • First aid
  • Drug and alcohol education

Being healthy

  • Sport
  • Drill
  • Team games
  • Healthy living
Accordion Title
Am I eligible?
Accordion Text

The following will help you decide whether you meet the necessary requirements to become a cadet:

  • cadets will be recruited between the age range of 13 to 16 years but can remain a cadet until their 18th birthday
  • the scheme welcomes young people of all abilities and if a recruit has special requirements this will be accommodated wherever possible
  • any young person will be considered, but where demand outweighs capacity, those with greater need will be considered over ability
  • previous offending, reprimands, final warnings and minor criminal convictions will not be a reason to exclude a young person
  • nationally, the police service has a policy prohibiting any of their officers, staff or volunteers from becoming members of, or engaged in activities with the British National Party (BNP) or similar organisations, whose aims, objectives or pronouncements may contradict the duty to promote race equality
  • any applicant who is or has been a member of the BNP or similar organisation will be rejected.

The leaders of each unit will seek to maintain a balanced unit providing a healthy mix of male and female members across the full age range, ethnic and social groups.


All potential cadets will be vetted. The purpose of this is not to routinely exclude any potential young person from membership, but rather to allow the cadet leaders to manage any potential risk that is highlighted. The checks will be carried out by Suffolk Police and any issues will be highlighted to the cadet liaison manager who in consultation with the local cadet leaders will decide if any potential risk is manageable.

Accordion Title
How to apply
Accordion Text

Current cadet units

There are currently eight cadet units, which are based in Martlesham, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Sudbury, Haverhill, Mildenhall and Stowmarket.

Young people who want to join one of these units must live in the area of the group they wish to join.

Due to high demand, we regret we are unable to offer places to young people who live outside of the above areas. However, we do hope to get further units up and running across the county, so please keep a check on this site for details.

Current vacancies

Applications to join the cadets are accepted at any time, and if a particular unit is full, the young person will automatically be added to a waiting list and informed when a place becomes available.

How to Apply

To apply for a place as a Volunteer Police Cadet in Martlesham, Ipswich, Stowmarket, Sudbury or Mildenhall, please download the application form here

To apply for a place as an Emergency Services Cadet in Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds or Haverhill, please download the application form here

If you would like further information about the Cadet Scheme, please email: [email protected]