A Melton teenager says being named Leicestershire Police’s cadet of the year will hopefully help him achieve his dream of becoming a full-time officer.
Finley O’Riordan (17), who is starting his fourth year as a member of the town’s volunteer police cadet force, said he was ‘extremely proud’ to be presented with the honour in front of 400 people at the annual Chief Constable’s Commendations Awards night.
The service he has given in his young life drew praise from senior police officers and from the High Sheriff of Rutland, who Finley is assigned to as her personal cadet for official engagements.
He told the Melton Times: “I knew I had been put forward for the award but I never thought I would win it.
“I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was young and being a cadet has given me a valuable insight into police work and enabled me to see things and do things I wouldn’t normally have been able to do.
“What we do as cadets is more community based - we do important work like knife and drugs sweeps and helping out at big events like the Melton CiCLE Classic and Leicester Pride.
“It is an eye-opener because you talk to the police officers and they tell you about some of the experiences they have gone through.
“We heard first hand at the presentation night about the quite extraordinary bravery displayed by some of the Leicestershire police officers and I am proud to be involved with people that do such great service.”
Finlay, who is studying A-levels at De Lisle College, Loughborough, has lived all his life in Melton and attended St Francis’ Primary School.
Next summer he hopes to start a police degree apprenticeship, where he will learn in the classroom and out on patrol and be a qualified officer at the end of it.
Finley, who is supported all the way by parents Dermot and Mel and sister Katie, thanked his cadet leaders and officers for helping him.
He added: “I’m proud to put on my police uniform and it definitely gives me confidence as a person.
“I would recommend any young person to become a police cadet because you learn skills not only to help you become a police officer but skills which are transferable into every aspect of your life.”
Finley was nominated by his Cadet Leader, PCSO Will Ford, who said: “I’m thrilled that Finley has received this award, he is certainly very worthy of the title. “He puts his all into being a cadet and I can always rely on him to volunteer his time to help us, from supporting the younger cadets to doing knife sweeps and events around Melton.
“Community engagement is one of Finley’s strengths and he’s very confident, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the police.
“I have no doubts that one day he will make an excellent police officer.”
Melton’s neighbourhood policing Inspector, Siobhan Gorman, said: “We are so proud of all that Finley has achieved as a police cadet.
“He’s a real asset to Melton and to the force, and I look forward to following his future career with us.”
Last year Finley’s hard work was recognised as he was selected as the personal cadet for Margaret Miles, the High Sheriff of Rutland.
She said: “Finley has been a first class police cadet in every way.
“He is reliable and thoughtful, using his own initiative wisely.
“He is an excellent communicator with all age groups and is always fully engaged with every activity or occasion.
“It has been a real privilege to have Finley as my police cadet.
“I wish him all the very best for his chosen career with the police.”
Finley attended the awards evening with his father.
His award was sponsored by David, Anne and Jonathan Saville, who also sponsor the awards for ‘Special of the Year’, ’Volunteer of the Year’ and ‘Special Officer Team of the Year’.
Police cadet recruitment for the Leicestershire force opens on March 1 next year with details online at www.leics.police.uk/couldyou for anyone interested.