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Outdoor Training of Police Cadets

Looking ahead to a life of chasing rogues over garden fences, or auditioning for Norman Wisdom’s ‘On the Beat’ – made the same year – police cadets take on an outdoor assault course.

Documentary 1962 25 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Just as Z Cars bursts onto our screen in 1962, police cadets in Ilkley take to the great outdoors to hone their skills at packing their kit, canoeing, abseiling down buildings, tying knots, climbing rock faces, and tackling an assault course. Then out to the hills for a bit of calisthenics and a four day hike, finding their way around the oblique landscape at Ribblehead with just map and compass.

The Police Cadet pathway as an apprenticeship to become a police constable was phased out in the 1990s (except in Scotland), replaced by a volunteer youth cadet scheme. Perhaps surprisingly, there are still no formal educational requirements for entry to the police service, although the kinds of training involved have changed considerably. Rather than rock climbing and other outdoor pursuits, beginning training consists of first aid, health and safety, officer safety, ICT, race and diversity, human rights and community safety strategy. The film also shows the lost village of West End, which was submerged when the newly built Thruscross reservoir opened in 1966.