Mini Police sessions hailed a success as perceptions are changed
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A graduation day has been held for a class of primary school pupils who have spent the last year learning about the police.
Officers from the City Central neighbourhood policing team have been visiting local schools each week to give some insight into the work they do.
Bentinck Primary School in Radford is one of the schools that has been involved, with around 30 pupils in Year 5 joining the Mini Police throughout this school year.
From trying on police uniform and taking a look inside a police van, the children have done all sorts of fun activities.
They’ve also learnt about the dangers of knife crime and the impact antisocial behaviour can have on communities, all whilst learning first aid skills and the ins and outs of police investigations.
In other sessions, they carried out litter picks and interacted with local community groups.
The main aim of the Mini Police scheme is to engage with young people in the community and show them another, more positive, side to policing.
With the school year coming to an end, officers held a graduation ceremony for the class on Thursday (13 July), with all the youngsters receiving a certificate.
PCSO Lucy Oram, who is based at Radford Road Police Station and helps run the Mini Police programme, said: “It was really nice to be able to hand out graduation certificates to each of the youngsters, who have really engaged with us whenever we’ve met with them throughout the year.
“All the parents were really proud and a lot of them told us how being part of the Mini Police had really brought the children out of themselves, which is one of the reasons why we do this.
“The main aim of these sessions though is to break down the barriers between the police and the community, and challenge some of the perceptions people have, which can often be negative.
“Being involved in the Mini Police is a great way of showing the children all the positive things we do.
“It’s about engaging with young people and making them realise that the work of the police isn’t just what they see on the street, but there’s lots of other areas within the police too.
“We want youngsters to see the police, not as scary, but people who are there to help them when they need us.”
Nottinghamshire Police officers visit schools across the county as part of the engagement scheme, which gives young children the opportunity to learn about how the police work within the community to keep people safe.
PCSO Oram runs the City Central Mini Police alongside PCSO Kelly Thomas and PCSO Amy Wrathall, with the trio also visiting St. Mary's Catholic Primary School, Forest Fields Primary School, Claremont Primary School and Djanogly City Academy.
Simon Bakewell, Year 5 teacher at Bentinck Primary School, praised the Mini Police programme for the positive impact it'd had on pupils.
He said: “At the start of the year, some children may have thought of a police officer as being someone to avoid, whereas now – having met PCSO Oram and today Inspector Gaskin – they now see the police as people who are there to help them.
“It’s about meeting and getting to know the person behind the police uniform. As a result, the children have seen for themselves how approachable the police are.
“It’s also been nice to see how engaged the children have been during the Mini Police sessions. Whenever PCSO Oram has asked if they have any questions, loads of hands went up."
Inspector Elizabeth Gaskin, who leads the City Central neighbourhood policing team, handed out graduation certificates to the Mini Police members.
She said: “It was a pleasure to attend Bentinck Primary School to present our Mini Police members with their certificates.
“We’ve found the initiative to be a really successful way for us to engage with young people in the area and show them another side to policing and police officers.”