I joined the Cadets in around 1986 when I was about 14 years old. I had a friend who I played rugby with who had a contact in the Cadets, and so I went along to find out what it was all about. I’d had no previous contact with the police and it’s not something I’d thought of doing.
As a Cadet I had the chance to get involved with a lot of positive community activities – we held property marking events, helping to mark people’s bikes to act as a deterrent to thieves, and assisted with public order training. I was a Cadet until I went off to University.
Whilst at University I had a complete break from the police for three years. When I graduated the job market was tough, and I looked at a few different opportunities but ultimately decided to try the police. I joined as a PC and was promoted to Sergeant within three years.
During my time with the force I’ve had many different roles. I spent my probationary period in uniform in Bedford, then was promoted to the North Rural Team. I also worked as a Custody Sergeant and a Staff Officer, before being promoted to Inspector where I worked in the force’s Community and Neighbourhood Policing team and finally as an Inspector in Response.
I was then promoted to Chief Inspector, and in my last three years at Bedfordshire Police I was Head of Local Intelligence, which I loved. Every day was different and I worked with some brilliant dedicated and professional people.
Some of my other highlights include spending three years in Neighbourhood Policing in Luton as Chief Inspector, as I was responsible for building the teams and it was a pleasure to work alongside some fantastic people. I was also responsible for a really diverse portfolio which included hate crime, community cohesion and licensing.
I’m now based in Cambridgeshire and head up Public Contact for Cambridgeshire Constabulary, which means I look after the Force Control Room, which takes 999 calls, and the police service centre, which takes 101 calls.
Policing is an extraordinarily varied career – there are no limits to the opportunities you have when you join. Being a Cadet gave me a great insight into what it’s all about. It was a really useful programme to be a part of and really helped build my experience.
Getting to know people, how they worked and the processes involved in policing was really crucial. The force was, and still is, a family force, so I really got to know who was who and how they operated. When looking back I think this helped me build a really invaluable foundation in policing and was a key factor in me joining the force once I’d finished university. I would thoroughly recommend the Cadets as a positive way to spend your spare time whether you end up pursuing a career in the police service or not.
Recruitment for Bedfordshire’s Police Cadets is now open. You must be 15 years old by the 1 September 2017. To apply, click here.
Superintendent Ian Middleton joined Bedfordshire Police Cadets in 1986. After returning to the force as a PC after he graduated, he has enjoyed a varied career with the force and was recently promoted to Head of Contact for Cambridgeshire Constabulary.