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London’s thin blue line will be briefly manned by Katarina Lundrigan, a 14-year-old police cadet later this month, when the world’s most famous force joins a nationwide initiative to get young people into the workplace.

On 22 November 2015, Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe will hand over his desk for the day to Katarina Lundrigan, one of a handful of cadets joining the force for Takeover Challenge. Led by the Children’s Commissioner for England, the initiative helps organisations and businesses welcome young people into their workplace, giving them an insight into decision-making and giving businesses a fresh insight into their work by listening to children’s ideas and experiences. The MPS has embraced Takeover Challenge since its inception and has welcomed young people into its offices for the last five years. This year will see the largest number of areas and departments taking part.

Sir Bernard says:

“I’m delighted we’re supporting Takeover Challenge once again – it’s not often someone other than the Commissioner sits in the swivel chair in this office, but I’m sure Katarina will do a great job.

We have a great relationship between the Met and the young people of London – including our excellent cadets. This scheme will help to deepen that relationship. Takeover Challenge has proven popular with officers, staff and cadets across all boroughs and departments in the Met Police, so we’re all really looking forward to supporting the Children’s Commissioner this year.”

All 32 borough commanders and local mayors will be handing over responsibilities to cadets this year. In the corporate arena, cadets will take over from senior leaders in the media department and professional standards and will shadow major operational roles, including the Commissioner and Mayor Boris Johnson, who says:

“Young people are excellent at bringing a fresh perspective to the table, and I have no doubt that the cadet who joins me at City Hall for the day will have plenty of ideas about policing in London and other vital issues facing the capital. I would urge organisations around the country to sign up to Takeover Challenge and see what they can learn from young people about their businesses.”

Katarina Lundrigan said of creating the promotional video:

“Filming the video with the Commissioner was an amazing experience, I thoroughly enjoyed being part of it. At first I was nervous, however I was completely put at ease by the attitude of those around me. It gave me an excellent taste of what I would be expecting for my takeover, I’m even more excited to be the Commissioner now!”

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, says of the Takeover Challenge initiative:

“We can all benefit from getting involved in Takeover Challenge. Children and young people bring fresh ideas, imagination and energy to the roles they take over and challenge stereotypes about them that we hear too often. Takeover Challenge gets people to work differently and helps individuals and organisations understand the needs of children and young people. I am thrilled to see that thousands of children, adults and organisations have taken up the challenge and the amazing Takeovers happening in all sectors right across the country.”

Takeover has grown year on year – in 2014 over 44,000 children and 1,200 organisations took part. Children and young people stepped into the shoes of hundreds of high profile figures including: MPs, mayors, TV presenters, teachers, chief executives, senior police officers and other professionals in all walks of life. This year, the Children’s Commissioner is encouraging organisations to extend their Takeover to happen anytime, any day.

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