A teenage Polish girl living in Merthyr Tydfil has scooped one of the UK’s most prestigious policing awards. Alicja Sadkiewicz won the Volunteer Police Cadet Award and it was announced at a ceremony in London on Tuesday (Oct 16).
The 14-year-old who has lived in Merthyr Tydfil since she was eight years-old with her family, fought off some stiff competition from across the country to win the award which recognises individual achievements in youth volunteering in the police service.
There are over 12,500 youth volunteers or police cadets across the UK – hundreds of nominations were put forward for the award. Alicja has been a police youth volunteer for over two years with South Wales Police.
She was nominated by pc Angela Rogers, a schools liaison officer based Merthyr Tydfil who met Alicja when she was still in primary school.
At just seven years-old, Alicja volunteered to translate for Angela while she gave talks on important issues such as anti-social behaviour, substance and alcohol abuse and personal safety.
Angela said: “I am absolutely ecstatic for Alicja and her family. She deserves this recognition so much for the efforts sand commitment which she has put into being a police volunteer. It’s in Alicja’s nature to help others – right from the start she was translating for me so that her Polish friends – who could not speak English – could understand what I was telling them and Alicja continues to translate for me even to this day. Of course, when the police cadets were launched in the region Alicja was one of the first to come on board.”
Alicja is passionate about her heritage, recently became a Holocaust Youth Champion and completed the Holocaust Memorial Trust challenge. She went to her old primary school to tell the story of a Polish survivor of the Holocaust who is now believed to be living in Merthyr Tydfil, highlighting the importance of equality, peace and acceptance.
Alicja said: “It’s true that I do love to help people and being a police youth volunteer gives me the chance to do that in lots of different ways. When I was first told that I had been put forward for this award I was so excited. But when I arrived in London and saw who else was nominated, and read about what they did, I really didn’t expect to win. I guess that things that I do are making a difference and that makes me really proud.”
She was commended at Merthyr Police Station recently by Chief Superintendent Belinda Davies, who said: “It was fantastic to meet Alicja recently – she is a credit to her family and a fabulous role model to her peers. I know from speaking to her that she has aspirations to become a police officer herself, and I’m sure that there would be a job waiting for her should her determination and her instinct to help others remain with her. She fully deserves this recognition.”
Alicja attended the Lord Ferrers Award Ceremony in London along with Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan, Pc Angela Rogers and her proud mum, Julietta. The ceremony was opened by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE, the Welsh television news presenter and journalist.
The Lord Ferrers Awards was previously known as the Special Constable and Police Support Volunteer Award. It highlights the vital role volunteers play in support of policing, by giving up their free time to make communities safer, and enhancing the effectiveness of policing across England and Wales.
In 2013, they were renamed in memory of Lord Ferrers, the former Home Office minister who created the awards in 1993.