Year 5 pupils at Oasis Academy Connaught in Knowle West, will be the first cohort in Avon and Somerset Police’s new Mini Police, an extension of their Volunteer Police Cadets.
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, and we can get enough volunteers on board to run it, 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.”
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. Early plans are for the children to visit the care homes around the time of Remembrance Day.