A group of trailblazing teenagers are participating in a new scheme being piloted by Durham Constabulary.
The youngsters, who age from 16 to 18, have all come through the force’s cadet scheme.
And now they have been handed two-year apprenticeships as youth development officers.
As part of the role they will work on projects to engage their peers to tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drugs, bullying and child sexual exploitation.
Meanwhile, they will also work towards a youth worker’s qualification with Derwentside College.
The scheme is believed to be among the first of its kind and is being delivered by the Durham Agency Against Crime (DAAC).
One of the young people on the scheme is Ronnie Haw, 16, from Darlington.
He said: “I first got involved in the Cadets over two years ago and it really did change me.
“I was just sitting at home and wasn’t very outgoing.
“Now I am a lot more confident and I have had some amazing experiences including trips away in the Lake District and the Isle of Man.
“I think this is a brilliant opportunity and I can’t wait to make a difference.
“Eventually I would like to become a police officer and hopefully this is another step to achieving that.”
Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary, said: “I think it is absolutely fantastic that we are welcoming these young people to Durham’s policing family and it is a great opportunity for them.
“When it comes to tackling youth issues, surely there is no one better placed?
“I wish them every success in their new roles.”
One of the roles will also focus on horticulture and will work alongside the HAGGRID project, an initiative coordinated by Durham Agency Against Crime (DAAC) designed to engage young people and ensure they are seen as assets to their communities.