Swindon’s first primary schools have signed up for the newly established Mini Police scheme.
Goddard Park primary school, Tadpole Farm CE primary school and Swindon Academy, enrolled 49 year-five students in ceremonies attended by their parents.
The youngsters made their pledge to join the scheme alongside Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson and Wiltshire’s High Sheriff Nicky Alberry.
The pilot scheme will run for the rest of this academic year and will be delivered by schools in partnership with members of their community policing team. Mini Police offers primary school children the chance to build positive relationships with their local police team, whilst helping out in their school and the wider community.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said; “I am so pleased to be supporting this Mini Police scheme, which is a national programme being tried out in a number of schools by police forces across the country. My thanks to all three schools who are supporting this pilot.
“Children and young people will learn the importance of the community working with police to help protect them from crime. By engaging with children and young people from an early age, the Mini Police aims to reduce future demand, discussing how getting involved in criminality can affect their lives. They will find out what it means to be a police officer and we also hope to plant the seed of good citizenship. In time they may take up opportunities to them either through volunteering as a Cadet, Special or a career path towards becoming a Regular.”
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said; “I am very excited about this initiative and am pleased to see so many willing young people support the police in helping to keep their communities safe.
“I would like to congratulate all of the children who have taken up their place as a Mini Police officer and wish them the best of luck in their Mini Police adventures.
“These are the first schools to trial Mini Police in Swindon and I’m sure they will make it a great success. Going forward we would like to see the scheme grow across other schools in Swindon and Wiltshire.”
Goddard Park Primary Deputy Headteacher, Carmen Franklin, said; “Amelia, our PCSO, and other members of the team have attended our Nativity and Christmas Fayre. The children see them as part of the school community and love to see them and chat. Amelia pops in and will talk to children who have particular issues which have been identified as well as giving general advice to classes on road safety and knife crime. The children look up to the police with many aspiring to become officers themselves.
“After the Mini Police ceremony today one of our Reception children, aged four, came back to the class, put on the police hat and high vis jacket and said; 'Look I am in the Mini Police, I help people!' It is so important that the children see the police as a friendly face and a source of support rather than just when things go wrong.
"PCSO’s Rachel and Helen are passionate about the Mini Police scheme and the difference it can make to the lives of the children in our area.”
Swindon Academy Primary Headteacher, Sally Hodgson, said; “This is a great opportunity for the children to interact and work the police in a positive way. We are working to develop independent young people, who can add, in a positive way, to our community - the Mini Police programme will support this work.”
Tadpole CE Primary Headteacher, Jane Leo, said; “We, as a school, are very excited to be given this opportunity to join the Wiltshire Police in this Mini Police scheme for schools. We are grateful to be one of the three schools in Swindon Borough to be part of it and excited to get going. It is a brilliant scheme, giving the year five students a chance to see some of the aspects of being an officer and what they have to tackle on a daily basis.”
Parents Carly Stanbury and Carla Rothwell said; “The scheme offers our children the opportunity to be more confident and disciplined. It’s good for them to see what the police do rather than what they might see and hear on the streets which can be the bad things. They will gain a better understanding and some background knowledge.”
Year 5 Student George said; “I'm grateful because not many schools are given this opportunity. I would like to be in the police force when I am older. This will show me some of the things they do.”
Year 5 Student Owain said; “I will benefit by being in the Mini Police, by learning what they do each day.”
Year 5 Student Mionie said; “It's going to benefit me because I've had a lot of changes in my life just lately. I think it will help me to understand that changes are not always bad.”
Year 5 Student Kirsten said; “It's a good opportunity to be in the Mini Police because it's not common and not all schools get the chance to do it. I think I will learn what some of the rules are within the police force.”