A FORMER gang member who reinvented herself as a police cadet has beat thousands of others to win an award.

Alisha Crowie, 16, of Walthamstow, was awarded the Best New Recruit by the Metropolitan Police Force.

Alisha joined Walthamstow Volunteer Police Cadets five months ago after becoming involved with a gang and regularly going missing.

Alisha said: “It has helped me a lot because I was bored. The activities we do are fun and I have met lots of people.

“It will be something good to put on my CV. I go twice a week and we do activities like stop and search.

“I am really looking forward to the cadets’ summer camp now.”

Alisha was announced as the winner at a ceremony in the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster on Saturday, February 11.

The Volunteer Police Cadets, which has more than 5,000 members across the capital between the ages of 10 and 24, celebrated its 30th year.

Alisha’s father Chris Allen said joining the cadets has changed his daughter for the better and he would recommend it to other families with troublesome teenagers.

Mr Allen said: “When she was in a gang we were in touch with police officers about trying to change the road that she had taken.

“We were very worried about her and were out at night on the streets looking for her because she would go missing.

“She was most definitely vulnerable and was at risk of exploitation.

“It got to the point where we asked her to change for the better so we got something good out of something bad.

“I feel for other parents going through the same thing and I would most definitely recommend the cadets.”

Alisha’s mother Paula added: “She loves the cadets and since she joined her mannerisms and attitude have improved so much.”

Alisha is planning on studying beauty and drama at college this September.

The Volunteer Police Cadets aim to reduce young people’s vulnerability to get drawn into crime by giving them the opportunity to contribute to a better society.

The group take part in a number of big events in the capital including Notting Hill Carnival and Trooping the Colour.

Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, said: "As well as providing fantastic fun and development opportunities for the cadets themselves, they are a valuable asset to us, providing practical operational help as well as fresh insights.

“I very much hope and believe that the VPC will continue to flourish in the years to come."