Now with many schools returning to a more ‘normal’ way of working following lockdown, the neighbourhood policing team has worked to increase our presence inside of schools on the beat. In total, we work with 5 different schools, these being St John and St Francis Primary School, Eastover Community Primary School, Willowdown Primary School, Bridgwater College Academy and Bridgwater and Taunton College. All PCSO’s on the beat are school liaison officers, with most working with more than one school.
School engagement provides the team with a fantastic opportunity to build relationships with young people, and provides them friendly, approachable face to seek support and guidance if needed. We have found that this regular contact during school hours has aided in our ability manage incidents outside of the school grounds, as the bridges between young people and police have already been started to be built. We have also found great value in working with school staff to identify and manage lower-level concerns within the school community, with the aim to ‘nip it in the bud’ before it grows to wider concerns.
Due to the wide age range of students we work with (pre-school – 18+) there is no ‘set menu’ for school engagement. However, this can include lesson delivery, 1-2-1 support, responding to incidents, ‘Cuppa with a Copper’, pop-in beat surgeries, break/lunchtime patrol, assemblies, parent information sessions, police guest speakers and many more.