Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner has welcomed the constabulary’s newest recruits – 20 mini ‘police officers’ from Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School in Runcorn.
The year 5 pupils will be supporting the force’s regular officers in the Halton area to make their community safer as part of the national Mini Police scheme.
The youngsters will support officers in tackling local issues highlighted by their own communities as well as attending award ceremonies and events as ambassadors for the force.
Funded by the police and crime commissioner, they’ve each been given a police uniform (which is loosely based on the regular police uniform) to help the mini ‘officers’ look the part and feel part of the policing family.
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring the successful Mini Police scheme to Cheshire.
“It’s a great engagement tool which provides school children with some fantastic opportunities to make their communities stronger, whilst giving them a positive experience of policing.
“I look forward to working with the new recruits and seeing them develop into responsible and active citizens of the future.”
The children will look at three key priorities for the area – littering and protecting the local environment; helping vulnerable people in the community; road safety.
PCSO Paul Barker, who’s leading the scheme in Halton, commented: “We have already begun working closely with children at Holy Spirit to discuss what issues within their community matter to them.
“They have set their own priorities and we will assist and guide them to get involved in the community in a meaningful, safe and age appropriate way to begin to tackle the issues they identified.”
The children were sworn into their new roles on Friday (15th June) at an event which was attended by the mayor and mayoress of Halton, Cllr John Bradshaw and Marjorie Bradshaw, and a number of representatives from partner agencies.
They affirmed their commitment to the role by reading pledges that they had written themselves.
They were also given the chance to talk to serving Cheshire Police officers carrying out different roles in the force and had a look at various police vehicles in action.
John McDonald, headteacher at Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School, said: “We are very excited and value the opportunity to be working with Cheshire Police on this amazing project.
“Already, the children are feeling empowered. They have begun setting their own priorities working alongside PCSO Paul and are looking forward to making an impact at school and in the community.”
He added: “Mini Police will form an important part of our curriculum and I am excited about the possibilities of where it could take the children’s learning.
“The Mini Police motto of “we’re here to help” complements our school’s own catholic ethos and the school’s desire to encourage children to be active in social justice issues.
“Most importantly, I am sure the project will also be great fun for the many children involved.”
The work that the Mini Police carry out will be fed back via presentations and assemblies to their peers across other year groups within the school to encourage more pupils to get involved and understand the key issues for their community.