08/11/2012

Met Police Celebrate Youth Engagement

Metropolitan Police Service cadets from across the capital have written and starred in a film aimed at young Londoners.

The cadets - all of whom participate in the Young Leaders Forum, which developed out of the Senior Cadet Leadership Courses - were invited by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh to create some innovative ideas to enhance and improve the way in which the service engages with young people.

One of their first ideas was to produce a film, telling in their own words stories which describe occasions when they feel that the police are important to young people, and why it is important for young people to talk to and trust police officers. All of the stories are complex and provide a glimpse into the huge variety of ways in which the police can help the public - especially young people. Several of the stories are personal to the cadets who wrote the storylines, and in all cases they are resonant and truthful to them as young people, navigating the complex challenges of entry into adulthood.

The cadets attended a script writing workshop held at New Scotland Yard in July where they were supported by colleagues from the Directorate of Media and Communication.

On Tuesday 28 August, Cadets Femi Akintoye (Croydon), Jamilla Walcott (Haringey), Socrates Ioannou (Enfield), Sarah Jeffries (Southwark), Khushal Shah (Harrow), Albi Lata (Brent) and Verity Brooker (Sutton) rehearsed for their first starring roles.

They joined a workshop, delivered by experienced film and television actor John Macmillan, who is currently in production working on the latest film with Angelina Jolie, and gave up his free time to help the cadets to develop their skills for 'camera acting'.

John was extremely impressed by what he saw and said: "I can't believe how good these folks are! I work with people every day who train for years to try and be this good, and it just comes naturally for them! I think it's wonderful that these guys volunteer to help with the police, and the stories they are telling will sadly often be familiar, but hopefully also helpful and reassuring to a lot of other young people out there."

The workshop was followed by three very long days of filming in locations across Haringey with enormous support from the police and local community. Each cadet had a different story to tell, which they did through a series of 'interviews to camera' and 'flashbacks'. The cadets, other members of the VPC and local volunteers acted as extras in the stories, as well as moving equipment and holding microphones for the cameramen.

The final scene took place in front of the New Scotland Yard sign, and featured the whole group of cadets involved in the making of the film.

VPC Programme Manager Gwanwyn Mason, who co-directed and produced the film, said: "It was an exhausting but amazing week and I am so proud of what we've achieved. Each of the stories is extremely poignant to young people in London and the huge variety of challenges teenagers face.

"I am so proud of our cadets in taking the pride and initiative to tell these stories which will help us and hopefully many young Londoners out there."

The film received its premiere on 6 November at The Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham.

(GK)

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