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'Her dedication has been amazing': Sue from Asda Watford helps train police cadets

August 30, 2019 01:46pm
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When our brilliant colleague Sue Blackley started taking her teenage son James to cadet classes to learn about what’s involved in joining the police she wanted to do her bit to help the local community too – and seven years later the police say her "inspirational" dedication is making a huge difference.

Sue Blackley from Asda Watford helps train police cadets in her spare time

Sue, who works at our Watford store, regularly helps at Hertsmere Police Cadets as well as organising fundraising events – she’s also helped the cadets secure donations from the Asda Foundation.

She first got involved as a parent helper when her son James was a cadet and is now a training officer alongside two police officers and a police community support officer.

Sue helps to train the 21 recruits – aged 13 to 18 – in all aspects of police work with many deciding to join the force when they get older.

Sue said: "The cadets get to learn a broad aspect of police-related activities with us. We look at things like traffic incidents and arrests and the cadets also get to ride along in a police car with an officer. We also go on parades too.

Watford twilight colleague Sue helps train young police recruits
Sue Blackley and son James with Asda Watford store manager Chris Good and community champion Beverley Ashdown

"We watch films such as the aftermath of a burglary and ask the cadets how they would handle it, do role play and we have talks from various people including firefighters."

As well as learning about police procedures and the law, cadets also play a vital role in community events, engaging with members of the public and educating them on crime prevention.

Sue, who's 54, has completed a number of courses including child protection and first aid, said: "Asda have been extremely supportive and been very flexible when I have needed to change shifts for instance."

The cadets have also held bag packing days in store, the most recent one raising around £400.

Watford twilight colleague Sue helps train young police recruits

And Sue has recently received an Asda Foundation top-up grant of £234 following fundraising work she did for the cadets.

Her 20-year-old son James, who is now a Special Constable, is studying for a policing degree at London's Metropolitan University.

Sue said: "I wanted to become a training officer with the cadets because James was so happy there. He loved it. I saw such a change in him, particularly in his confidence.

"Being a training officer is so rewarding. It's so nice to see some of the cadets with low confidence come out of their shell. It's good to give something back to the community and the police do such a good job. I have so much admiration for them."

PC Jake Pike, who is lead training officer with the cadets, had nothing but praise for Sue.

Watford twilight colleague Sue helps train young police recruits
Sue, far right, with police cadets and training officers

He said: "She is incredible. Her dedication to the unit has been absolutely amazing and her commitment to the community is brilliant. We wouldn't be able to run cadet groups like this if it wasn't for people like Sue.

"As well as looking after the welfare of our cadets, she also is a strong fundraiser. Without her we would not be able to offer a lot all the things that we do."

Her dedication was also acknowledged by Charlie Hall, Chief Constable of Herfordshire Constabulary, who said Sue's "hard work, support and enthusiasm" was "outstanding".

Our Watford's store manager Chris Good says colleagues are all very proud of Sue.

He said: "She does great work both in the community and in our store."

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