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Visit to Police HQ for young Christmas card designers

Chief Constable Andy Marsh with Christmas card design winners Alana (left) and Jessica

Two winners of a ‘Design a Christmas card’ challenge set by Avon and Somerset Police and Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner have enjoyed a trip to the Police and Fire headquarters.

Eleven year old Jessica Weeks from Clevedon and nine year old Alana O’Neill from Bridgwater are members of the ‘Mini Police’, a volunteering opportunity which enables children aged 9-11 years to contribute to policing and community safety in a fun way.

In November, Mini Police schemes across Avon and Somerset were invited to undertake a ‘special assignment’, designing a Christmas card using the theme ‘everything starts with hello’ and reminding people to check on their neighbours over the holiday season.

From the 185 entries submitted, Chief Constable Andy Marsh chose Jessica’s design to be used on the police e-Christmas cards, whilst Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens chose Alana’s design to appear on her office’s festive greetings.

As their chosen prize Jessica and Alana, enjoyed a police tour on Wednesday 19 February accompanied by their families. They spent time with the 999 and 101 call-handlers and paid a visit to the police dog operations team and mounted section. They also had an opportunity to meet the Chief Constable who presented them with certificates.

Speaking about her visit, Jessica said: “It was an exciting experience and interesting to see how police staff in different departments work to help one another. Everyone was kind and friendly and I got the feeling they enjoyed their jobs. My favourite was the police dogs because we saw them in action.”

Alana added: “I was surprised at how big the room was for the 999 calls and enjoyed meeting members of the police who knew lots of things. I especially liked meeting the Chief Constable and hearing how he looks after all the officers and staff.”

Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome Jessica and Alana and have the opportunity to thank them for their thoughtful Christmas card designs, as well as enabling them to learn more at first-hand about their local police force. It is always a privilege to be able to show young people what a unique profession policing is. This will, we hope, have been an exciting and memorable day.

“We take great pride in our Mini Police scheme which involves police officers and PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers), with the latter working closely with local schools and pupils. We now have over 1,000 children and young people in our area participating in the scheme and being able to have a confident voice and enjoyable experiences associated with policing.”

Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “We were thrilled that so many Mini Police took up our challenge and gave us an amazing array of colourful and imaginative pictures from which to choose our Christmas card designs. We would like to thank them all for taking part. Alana’s and Jessica’s festive drawings delivered an important message extremely well and we were pleased to be able to recognise and thank them for their hard work.”