Children from High View School in Plymouth get first-hand experience of policing in the community

School pupils who have taken part in the new ‘Mini Police’ scheme, organised by Devon & Cornwall Police, have graduated with flying colours today following a six-week intensive programme. 

The new scheme, which had a trial run earlier this year, sees children from local primary schools getting a feel for what it’s like to be a police officer.

The Mini Police Programme is for school children aged between eight and ten years and aims to increase trust, confidence and provide safety messages and preventative education that will stay with them for life.

The children take part in a six-week intensive programme that varies from classroom-based learning to practical help in their community. Youth Engagement Officer PC Deborah Hart has overcome many challenges to make sure the children didn’t miss out on their chance to take part. She said: “This is such a great opportunity for primary school children, who absolutely love taking part in the mini police programme. This year came with extra challenges as the children started their mini police experience during the national restrictions that were introduced in November. We’ve all got use to online channels, and this was no different.

“Four of the six lessons were delivered through Microsoft teams, and for this school we worked with one class. Each lesson was designed to increase their confidence and understanding of how to keep themselves safe. The theme of learning focussed on anti-social behaviour and the impact it can have on their local community. Their final task was to present to their school about what they had learnt during their time as part of mini police.”

The community project saw the children working remotely with Manor Court Care Home, making botanical garden gifts for the residents which were gratefully received. Home Manager Clair Webb was delighted the children thought of the elderly residents. She said: “We have worked incredibly close with High View School as part of the Archie Project which is an intergenerational dementia awareness scheme which links primary school and care homes together. To receive these fantastic botanical gardens from the pupils in year five of was amazing, especially as one of the gardens was in memory of one of the residents who truly enjoyed the school children visiting Manor Court. This very kind thought will always be treasured.”

Headteacher Kim Dorian-Kemp didn’t want the national restrictions to halt the programme and worked closely with PC Hart to make sure the programme went ahead. She said: “Working with PC Hart on the mini police project has been brilliant. Despite the restrictions, our children have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the work of the police, how to stay safe and they valued having their voice heard about community matters. When they donned their police hats and jackets, the children said they felt special and it made their role in school feel even more important. In fact, they would like to wear them all of the time! Some have expressed the desire to be in the police force when they grow up. 

“This work has complimented our PSHE curriculum and further strengthened our relationship with the residents of Manor Court. Children loved making the botanical garden gifts for the elderly and I know they were gratefully received.”

The mini police graduates had a virtual celebration assembly with Plymouth Police Commander Chief Superintendent Matt Longman. The children shared their presentation and all they had learnt with Chief Superintendent Longman and were awarded their individual certificates.