18+/Staff Cadets - I'm now thoroughly anti


#1

So, after a recent incident in which I inappropriately lost my temper with a couple of VRT officers after I found out that a Staff Cadet had been accommodated overnight, alone in a room with a fourteen year old cadet, I have decided that I think the ACO should fall into line with the SCC and ACF and bring in the staff/cadet divide at 18.

I believe this, because in the above case, the staff cadet was ordered into a potentially compromising (and, in my opinion, legally dodgy) situation, which, if an allegation had been made, they would have had to take responsibility for. They had raised concerns themselves with the VRT officer responsible and been fobbed off with the attitude of ‘you’re a cadet, I’m an officer, do as your told’, despite them being, in the eyes of the law, a responsible adult and a person in a ‘position of trust’.

I think too many people in the ACO are fixated on the staff/cadet divide and fail to see the more important adult/child divide and that sooner or later a staff cadet is going to fall spectacularly foul of this through no real fault of their own.

All of this could be avoided if we accepted the fact that someone who is old enough to vote, drink, join the armed forces, get married, make all manner of other important decisions and to require an enhanced DBS/CRB check in order to be around children, is most likely old enough to be a Civilian Instructor or Sergeant (ATC).


#2

I have to say I disagree,

The VRT were wrong to put the over 18 cadet in that position - that’s the area that needs to dealt with.

I think that 20 is young enough (too young for some) to have for CI’s and uniformed staff

But that the 18-20 stage should be a development as a cadet instructor as it is, it’s just really important that the adult staff let them develop and instruct so that they can mature to be ready to join the Adult staff team and not compromise their position.


#3

although i see your point, it is difficult to judge not knowing the situation…was there an alternative?

As i understand it (and i have no AP/ACTO to refer to) seperation should be made between under and over 18s where “possible” ie if there is an opportunity to do so, then it should be taken, if however there is no alternative then all the Cadets are accomodated together

the defination between Cadet/Staff is too strong when compared to Adult/child and so understand the reasoning for the rant…the 18+ Cadet (Adult)should have been accomodated with the Staff but that isnt what the rules say…


#4

The ACF have been accommodating adults and children together for some time and are only now seemingly moving to the situation you are proposing.

The fault isn’t with the system we have but with the interpretation that some place on it. There is still a reluctance by some to treat all adults as adults and accommodate staff cadets and CFAV together when the situation allows (though where CFAVs are in messes this is not as easy to achieve.


#5

I’d certainly be in favour of ending cadet service at 18, although I think that’s too young for officer/SNCO.

Some sort of halfway house would be in order (without trying to start up the AC (ATC) debate again!)


#6

It is called “Staff Cadet”
:wink:


#7

[quote=“steve679” post=15308]although i see your point, it is difficult to judge not knowing the situation…was there an alternative?

As i understand it (and i have no AP/ACTO to refer to) seperation should be made between under and over 18s where “possible” ie if there is an opportunity to do so, then it should be taken, if however there is no alternative then all the Cadets are accomodated together

the defination between Cadet/Staff is too strong when compared to Adult/child and so understand the reasoning for the rant…the 18+ Cadet (Adult)should have been accomodated with the Staff but that isnt what the rules say…[/quote]

I’m not picking on you, but I knew this would be the counter point to the example given…

I know what the rules say. However, I would argue that in this case (and at least one other bit of guidance in ACP04) HQAC policy actually runs contrary to the law (in England and Wales, I’m aware Scotland is different and potentially even more of a minefield) and that if it was ever actually tested in court, we’d be ripped to pieces.

Putting that opinion totally to one side, I’d still argue that, while I can accept a situation where you need to accommodate a staff cadet in with a number of other cadets, you should never accommodate one staff cadet with one cadet. How many times are we told that, as an adult, you should never be alone with a cadet, always have a witness, etc?

Those who are arguing that it’s ok, because what was the other option, are unfortunately demonstrating my point that the ATC is blinded by the staff/cadet divide and can’t see the legal problems of the adult/child divide. I’ll reiterate my central argument, which is that we need to get rid of staff cadets for the staff cadets’ sake. Because a young adult is going to get let down by the system.

Once you’re 18, you are an adult. If that’s good enough for the ACF and the SCC, I don’t see why it’s not good enough for the ATC.


#8

They are valid concerns but I believe that the position and ideal of Staff Cadet (as it is now) is important enough for us to aim to retain, fixing instead the areas where that ideal is being compromised.

Perhaps it should be a harder divide: I jokingly suggested that the “intermediate position” suggested earlier was in fact that of Staff Cadet - lets formalise that. Instead of simply being a cadet who had hung on, make it a tier of CFAV only available to those continuing service and offering greater opportunities while retaining some of the opportunities available to all cadets.


#9

[quote=“incubus” post=15319]They are valid concerns but I believe that the position and ideal of Staff Cadet (as it is now) is important enough for us to aim to retain, fixing instead the areas where that ideal is being compromised.

Perhaps it should be a harder divide: I jokingly suggested that the “intermediate position” suggested earlier was in fact that of Staff Cadet - lets formalise that. Instead of simply being a cadet who had hung on, make it a tier of CFAV only available to those continuing service and offering greater opportunities while retaining some of the opportunities available to all cadets.[/quote]

I think you’re right. I certainly can’t disagree with what you’re saying. Although I believe that there are certainly elements of this having been the original intention of Instructor Cadets, as were. I think the biggest hurdle was and is educating CFAVs to stop them from putting staff cadets in situations which could see them in trouble and where those staff cadets (especially if they’ve just turned 18) may not have the confidence to turn around and say ‘No, sir. I can’t do that. I’m not comfortable with it.’ And educating those same CFAVs that they should respond to that sentence in the same way as if it came from any of their colleagues, rather than with ‘You’re a cadet, do as you’re told.’


#10

[quote=“incubus” post=15319]They are valid concerns but I believe that the position and ideal of Staff Cadet (as it is now) is important enough for us to aim to retain, fixing instead the areas where that ideal is being compromised.

Perhaps it should be a harder divide: I jokingly suggested that the “intermediate position” suggested earlier was in fact that of Staff Cadet - lets formalise that. Instead of simply being a cadet who had hung on, make it a tier of CFAV only available to those continuing service and offering greater opportunities while retaining some of the opportunities available to all cadets.[/quote]

i hate to suggest it but this is an argument for Cpl (ATC) - a rank only held by 18-20 yr old ex-Cadets
it doesnt create issues within the mess, accomodation or catering, they will effectively have all the same “privilages” but have a clearer recognition of their Adult age…

…how well a Cdt FS would accept being FS one parade night and then Cpl the next however would be telling!


#11

[quote=“steve679” post=15328][quote=“incubus” post=15319]They are valid concerns but I believe that the position and ideal of Staff Cadet (as it is now) is important enough for us to aim to retain, fixing instead the areas where that ideal is being compromised.

Perhaps it should be a harder divide: I jokingly suggested that the “intermediate position” suggested earlier was in fact that of Staff Cadet - lets formalise that. Instead of simply being a cadet who had hung on, make it a tier of CFAV only available to those continuing service and offering greater opportunities while retaining some of the opportunities available to all cadets.[/quote]

i hate to suggest it but this is an argument for Cpl (ATC) - a rank only held by 18-20 yr old ex-Cadets
it doesnt create issues within the mess, accomodation or catering, they will effectively have all the same “privilages” but have a clearer recognition of their Adult age…

…how well a Cdt FS would accept being FS one parade night and then Cpl the next however would be telling![/quote]

I went from Cdt FS to AC and it didn’t bother me…


#12

no but to have done that you would have changed organisation and moved into a more “premium” branded organisation…


#13

The Abuse of a Position of Trust offences under sections 16-20 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 DO NOT apply to the ATC. So don’t fret.

Defined here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/21

We are not looking after children under the Children Act 1989, we are not an educational institution, we are not a hospital (To name but a few of the examples.)


#14

The Abuse of a Position of Trust offences under sections 16-20 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 DO NOT apply to the ATC. So don’t fret.

Defined here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/21

We are not looking after children under the Children Act 1989, we are not an educational institution, we are not a hospital (To name but a few of the examples.)[/quote]

I’m pretty sure they have done for a few years now. The law was extended to cover adult’s involved in ‘voluntary youth organisations’. I remember being briefed to that effect.

In order to address the specific scenario I mentioned, though, are people honestly happy for an adult (because outside of the ATC, their specific role in the organisation is meaningless, all that matters is that they are legally an adult) to sleep alone and unsupervised in the same room as somebody else’s child? If the parent objected, what would be your defence? And if I add the fact that said staff cadet had been drinking earlier in the evening (without permission and for which they were told off), is your view affected in any way?


#15

The Abuse of a Position of Trust offences under sections 16-20 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 DO NOT apply to the ATC. So don’t fret.

Defined here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/21

We are not looking after children under the Children Act 1989, we are not an educational institution, we are not a hospital (To name but a few of the examples.)[/quote]

I’m pretty sure they have done for a few years now. The law was extended to cover adult’s involved in ‘voluntary youth organisations’. I remember being briefed to that effect.

In order to address the specific scenario I mentioned, though, are people honestly happy for an adult (because outside of the ATC, their specific role in the organisation is meaningless, all that matters is that they are legally an adult) to sleep alone and unsupervised in the same room as somebody else’s child? If the parent objected, what would be your defence? And if I add the fact that said staff cadet had been drinking earlier in the evening (without permission and for which they were told off), is your view affected in any way?[/quote]

I’m doubtful, I cannot find any reference to such an extension, there are no such orders by the secretary of state under S.21(1)(b) as far as I can find. So that’s the law as it stands.


#16

I can’t agree with any of this, apart from the fact that the Officer’s in this case were completely in the wrong.

The problem that you are perceiving is not one that exists throughout the Corps, only in rare instances such as this example. When I hit 18, we either had a different room, or a 12x12 with the staff/separate harbour area.

The Staff Cadet in this instance shouldn’t have been “ordered” into this situation.
The Staff should have considered potential problems.
The Staff should have planned better.
The Staff Cadet would have been well within his rights to refuse.

I refuse to believe that there is a general disregard for the legalities of being over 18; that’s why there are courses for this stuff. Special dispensation is often afforded to over 18s, too. I have never come across a staff member that was not aware of their responsibilities and liabilities when it comes to over and under 18s.

I do believe that this should be reported, but don’t be too quick to assume that this is the norm, and an epidemic that needs to be cured.


#17

Ever since the “adult cadet” was created and the rules around accommodation were put in place, HQAC nor the RAF has even tried to provide anything appropriate and only offered work arounds. I’ve been on camps where the over 18s are in the same room, but only in the end bunk(s) or a tent at the end of the lines with some sort of device to separate them. We either need to ditch the notion of adult cadets or ensure that appropriate accommodation is provided and not just pay lipservice to it. An obvious way around this is we run camps only for over 18s with a relaxation of the normal rules applied to cadet camps.

In this instance there is no context. If it was the only room available and the officer had insisted that either slept on the floor somewhere different to comply with the ‘rule’, then there would still be a complaint. If these were mixed gender then I would understand the problem, but as it doesn’t appear that it is, it’s not that bad. But we live (sadly) in a society that has developed to see bad in all adults in terms of them desiring to ‘work’ with under 18s and even more so if they are men.

For as long as the ‘adult cadet’ has been around I’ve felt we should be stopping cadet service at 18 or the appropriate school year, such as year 13, so that all cadet service ends on 31 AUG of the school year they become 18. After this they become a probationary member of staff (no uniform) if they decide to stay, and are treated the same as all adults, ie all the usual suspicions over motive. This then forces the separation from ‘children’ as opposed to the current nonsensical situation. Once they hit 20 they can start the application for a uniformed position if they so decide. If they decide they don’t want to stay at ‘18’, then go away until they reach 20 and come back.

Of course the irony is that between September 2003 and August 2009 cadets didn’t require CRB/DBS on reaching 18 and this problem didn’t exist as such. Also for 70 odd years previous in the Air Cadets (potentially) and dare I say in more enlightened times cadets of all ages shared accommodation and other than the older cadets having to put up with the childishness of some younger cadets, there weren’t any problems.

The HQAC needs to decide are we a youth organisation OR are we a youth/young adult organisation in terms of membership. I think we should be a purely youth organisation and lose cadet membership when legal adulthood hits.


#18

Although this was an unwise situation to create, and I tend to agree about “Staff Cadet” being a fudge (although I suggest that removing it would remove a large number of very useful and reliable Cdt SNCOs?), let’s be honest it doesn’t, realistically, make any difference.

How many times have we all been Duty Officer on camp where we have only a door between us and the sleeping cadets? If they want to make an accusation, they could do so easily (just like if somebody wanted to do something wrong, they could). How many times have we been in an office with a cadet? Think that having another staff member present will protect you? No, you’ll be in cahoots as soon as the allegation is made. Think having another cadet present will protect you? The cadets could team up to accuse you, even many years later when it is far too late for you to remember that day and offer a defence. I could go on, but you see my point.

In this case, the ‘abuse of trust’ rules are irrelevant, they only apply to young people between 16 and 18 in relationships with adults. If the cadet was 14, that is the wrong act to quote. The ACO document that is relevant is JSP535 Part 1, and ACP 4.

Finally, common sense says that Cadets do not suddenly switch from well-adjusted 17 year olds to peadophiles overnight on their 18th birthday!


#19

Here’s a little something to throw into the mix … what happens in the Armed Forces.

All 3 forces allow entry at 16 and as a 16 year old (still a child in the eyes of the law) entrant you could be billeted with anyone up to the age of say 25 on entry. Through trade training and under 18 you could be billeted with anyone. Once through basic and trade training still potentially under 18 you could be billeted with anyone of any age.

Is everyone in the armed forces over 18 ‘CRBd’?

It can’t be said that because they are the armed forces they are exempt from the law. If something happened between a minor and an adult, that we seem to be oh so jumpy about in the ACO, there couldn’t be an argument that it was OK.


#20

The same could be said of us staff who were all of sudden required to CRB, after doing the ATC for years. I’ve yet to hear of a current member of staff binned for failing a CRB.