Added on 17 October 2017 at 13:16
Children in south Bristol are being given a taste of policing at an early age, as part of a new scheme.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Alecto Shyne said: “The idea of the Mini Police is to build relationships with children at a young age, give them an insight into what policing is all about, and engage with them so that they see us as friends who are part of their communities, rather than people to be suspicious of."
"We hope that being part of the policing family from a young age will lay the foundations for future career aspirations and help these kids to make the right choices in life.
“We are already doing a lot of early intervention work in this part of Bristol and have good links with the school, which is why they were selected to take part in the pilot. If the scheme is successful here then we will be looking to roll it out more widely in Avon and Somerset.”
George Franks, Executive Principal of Oasis Academy Connaught said: “Today has been a fantastic event with our friends and partners at Avon and Somerset Police, and we are very grateful to them and all of our families who came along to support the children this morning."
“We are so excited about the new Mini Police, and you could tell from the buzz around the Academy that the idea has already caught our pupils’ imagination. The scheme is clearly going to give our young people some great experiences over the next year, and we are hopeful this pilot scheme grows into something bigger across other local schools.”
Avon and Somerset's Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “It’s really important we invest in our children and young people from an early age. This is a great initiative that not only inspires children to consider a career in policing in later life, but also encourages great relationships between the police and the next generation.
“I’m delighted that the Constabulary are trialling the scheme locally, and I’m interested to find out how the pupils of the Oasis Academy Connaught get on. The scheme has proven to be successful for other forces nationally and if successful here I hope it can be rolled out to schools across the whole of Avon and Somerset.”
The scheme is already being run in a number of other police forces across the country, including Durham, Merseyside, Northumbria and Thames Valley. As well as Avon and Somerset Police, Gwent, Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Police are all joining the scheme in 2017 – 2018.
The first 15 pupils to take part in Bristol were selected through an interview process with the school’s Assistant Principal and Learning Mentor, as well as Sergeant Shyne.
During their time in the Mini Police, the children will take part in a range of activities and trips, which will help to develop their understanding of the police, as well as to build links within their community. Two local residential homes, Southlands and Orchard House, will be working with the first cohort of children, in a mutually beneficial arrangement which will help to build strong links between different generations who share the same community.
The children will also learn about fire safety from our partners at Avon Fire and Rescue, and will work towards a reward, which this term will be a tour of our firearms training school at Blackrock in Portishead.
Mini Police officer Lexi, aged 9 said: “I’m so happy to be in the Mini Police because now I can help the community and make sure people are doing the right things.”
Another Mini Police officer Lucy, aged 9 said: “I’ve always been interested in being a police officer and this will help me to get some good experience.”
Samantha Lippett, whose 10-year-old daughter Chloe is in the first intake of Mini Police said: “I think it’s an amazing idea. It gives them an insight into what the police do and then as they get older, they will appreciate that the police are here to help us.”