Crime cash used to set up cadet scheme

CRIMINALS’ funds are being used to launch new projects in North Somerset, like a police cadet scheme and the expansion of a no cold calling zone scheme in Portishead.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 34 scheme, Avon and Somerset Constabulary is dishing out �30,500 of criminals’ cash to help set up worthy schemes across the district.

One of them is a new cadet scheme that will see 30 teenagers – one from each school in North Somerset – learn about policing and then contribute to their own communities.

Scheme organiser PC Ray Bradley said the cadets, who are aged 14-17, will be taught about self-defence, the law and basic policing principals, while they will also be visited by officers from various departments of the constabulary at the sessions at Churchill Academy.

They could eventually help to carry out Speedwatch schemes in the district, deliver crime reports at parish council meetings and provide police information at events such as T4 On The Beach.

He added that all of their duties would be non-confrontational ones.

He continued: “The idea is that if you join at 14 and like it then you stay for three-and-a-half years.

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“We’ve deliberately gone for a good age range as we wanted a good balance.”

The scheme will be officially launched at the force headquarters in Portishead on November 22.

Another scheme set to benefit is the no cold calling zone in Portishead.

Through the use of the funds, the area of 6,000 homes in 79 streets already covered by the scheme will be expanded to cover a further 500 homes in the Brampton Way area of the town.

PCSO Debbie Charman, from the town neighbourhood team, said: “It’s a tried and tested scheme which, through the use of no cold calling zone signs and door stickers, essentially says to potential criminals they are wasting their time targeting that street.

“It also, crucially, gives often vulnerable people the confidence to say no to people on their doorstep.

“We know from speaking to people now included in the scheme that they have gone from having frequent callers to none.”