A VOLUNTEER police cadet was awarded top marks for helping a crime-fighting charity’s mission to build safer communities.

Charland Brain’s work has now earned a special vote of confidence from Durham City’s Freemen as she embarks on a career as an apprentice youth worker employed by the police.

The 16-year-old, from Chester-le-Street, devoted two years of her spare time to supporting the work of the Durham Agency Against Crime (DAAC), during which she logged 100 per cent attendance.

Her commitment and determination to succeed so impressed the freemen’s charitable trust they offered her a £300 bursary to buy laptop software and other equipment needed in the first year of the two-year apprenticeship based at Derwentside College.

Durham Police’s apprenticeship scheme has been running for five years and the 20 cadets who have successfully completed the course have gone on to find employment.

Two became full-time police officers, two are special constables, six are Police Community Support Officers and two others went on to become teachers.

DAAC, a partnership launched more than 30 years ago, involving the public, private and voluntary sectors, now has 75 cadets, aged from 11 to 18.

It is looking for more to help deliver crime prevention initiatives, assist with public safety events and get involved in community projects.

Six cadets applied for apprenticeships this year, with Ms Brain scoring the highest marks.

In addition to their college studies all apprentices work directly with primary schools, delivering instruction to “mini police officers” on internet safety and involvement in projects helping to steer youngsters away from risks of being caught up in crime or anti-social behaviour.

DAAC’s executive manager, Bryan Russell, said: “Charland’s route to securing the apprenticeship has not been as easy one but her determination to succeed has been there for all to see.”

He said this was despite the Covid effect, as the start of the course was delayed until this time last year.

Eric Bulmer, chairman of the freemen’s charitable trust said: “Supporting apprentices during training has been a cornerstone of the trade guilds of the city for hundreds of years.

“We’re delighted to maintain this element of our heritage by supporting Charland as she embarks on her training.

“We will follow her progress with interest and wish her every success.”