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South Holland Mini-Police force to go on patrol in September




MINI-POLICE FORCE: Junior PCSOs Hannah, Elizabeth, Hope and Scarlet at Weston Hills Primary School where Lincolnshire Mini-Police will operate from in September. Photo by Tim Wilson. 110718110SG.
MINI-POLICE FORCE: Junior PCSOs Hannah, Elizabeth, Hope and Scarlet at Weston Hills Primary School where Lincolnshire Mini-Police will operate from in September. Photo by Tim Wilson. 110718110SG.

An elite squad of young law-keepers will soon be putting communities across South Holland to rights from September.

More than 20 primary schools in the area have signed up to a new Lincolnshire Mini-Police scheme which sees nine-year-olds working alongside the police within their town or village.

The scheme has been funded by a £100,000 grant from the Home Office to encourage stronger relationships between young people and the police.

Weston Hills Primary School is one school to have come on board with Mini-Police which will replace the Junior Police Cadets School Officer (JPCSO) scheme currently run by other police forces throughout England and Wales.

Helen Barnes, assistant head teacher at Weston Hills Primary School, said: "Earlier this month, the children received a presentation by two police officers who arrived at our school in their ‘Mini-Police’ vehicle.

MINI-POLICE FORCE: Junior PCSOs Hannah, Elizabeth, Hope and Scarlet at Weston Hills Primary School where Lincolnshire Mini-Police will operate from in September. Photo by Tim Wilson. 110718112SG.
MINI-POLICE FORCE: Junior PCSOs Hannah, Elizabeth, Hope and Scarlet at Weston Hills Primary School where Lincolnshire Mini-Police will operate from in September. Photo by Tim Wilson. 110718112SG.

"This got the children very excited about their potential appointments to the role as part of a project which will give them knowledge of the valuable work police officers do.

"Our hope is that this will provoke discussion and debate, helping our pupils to become more reflective citizens who understand the implications of their actions, as well as those of other members of society.

"This includes dropping litter, speeding through villages or behaving irresponsibly, although there are also plans to educate children in areas such as internet safety, anti-bullying and safe cycling."

Mrs Barnes went on to confirm that four Mini-Police "officers" would be voted in at Weston Hills, based on "manifestos" they will submit and an election within school at the start of September.

She said: "We expect to be inundated with applicants, if the enthusiasm of the children on hearing about the role is anything to go by.

"Weston Hills Primary School is excited to participate in this initiative as it has many positive benefits, both for our pupils and the community as well."

Mini-Police was piloted at two schools in Boston last year and the Home Office funding allows Lincolnshire Police to expand the scheme across 100 schools in the county.

Lincolnshire Mini-Police is a project aimed at Year 5 pupils and looks to engage them with their community through police-supervised tasks. (3021552)
Lincolnshire Mini-Police is a project aimed at Year 5 pupils and looks to engage them with their community through police-supervised tasks. (3021552)

PC Tim Newell, Mini-Police co-ordinator for South Holland and Boston, said: "There are 23 Mini-Police officers in Lincolnshire, all based at two pilot schools in Boston.

"But we're going round and introducing the scheme to children currently in Years 4 and 5 to give them and idea of what's going to happen.

"We'll be having a small launch in August, before the start of the new school year, but we have had to close our applications period because so many schools have expressed an interest in the project.

"A target was set originally of 1,000 children in 100 schools, but we actually have 1,006 children at 119 schools.

"Nearly all of the JPCSO schools in South Holland will become Mini-Police schools and the feedback we're getting from everybody is really good."

The Mini-Police scheme was originally pioneered by forces in the north of England, including Cumbria, Durham and Northumbria Constabularies.

It has since spread to Avon and Somerset, Gwent, Merseyside, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

PC Newell said: "In September 2018, Lincolnshire Police will formally launch Mini Police into 119 primary schools across the county, 22 of which are in South Holland.

Mini-Police from Boston's Staniland Academy at Asda in Wyberton. Photo supplied by Lincolnshire Police. (3021411)
Mini-Police from Boston's Staniland Academy at Asda in Wyberton. Photo supplied by Lincolnshire Police. (3021411)

PC Newell said: "In September 2018, Lincolnshire Police will formally launch Mini Police into 119 primary schools across the county, 22 of which are in South Holland.

"Pupils who are elected will be issued with a uniform consisting of a polo shirt, coat, high-visibility sleeveless jacket, baseball cap and lanyard which have been purchased by the schools.

"Mini-Police will work with a PCSO assigned to the school to undertake six tasks throughout the school year, including topics such as ‘Challenging Diversity’, ‘Social Responsibility’ and ‘Crime Prevention’.

"Tasks are completed not just within school but also the local community, with the aim of the project being to build relationships between Lincolnshire Police and our schools, along with increasing trust and confidence between each other."

Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West said: “I am immensely proud of our Mini-Police and this is such a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with children.

Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West with Mini-Police in Boston. Photo supplied. (3021365)
Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West with Mini-Police in Boston. Photo supplied. (3021365)

"It is also an opportunity for them to learn what we do and help the communities they live in.

"Having been successful in our bid for additional funding means we can work with even more children, including possibly some who are taught at home.

"From attending the Houses of Parliament and working through a 'whodunnit' exercise, to packing bags in support of the local hospice, the opportunities each member of our Mini-Police has will give them experiences and opportunities that will broaden their horizons and allow them to begin to think about the wider responsibilities each member of our community has to each other.”

Coun Gary Taylor, portfolio holder for communities and facilities at South Holland District Council, said: "It is important for young people to understand how acts of crime and anti-social behaviour can seriously effect victims' wellbeing, as well as respecting the law and setting a positive example for their peers.

Coun Gary Taylor (2620019)
Coun Gary Taylor (2620019)

Coun Gary Taylor, portfolio holder for communities and facilities at South Holland District Council, said: "It is important for young people to understand how acts of crime and anti-social behaviour can seriously effect victims' wellbeing, as well as respecting the law and setting a positive example for their peers.

"I believe that Lincolnshire Mini-Police is an excellent initiative and hope that it develops into a successful project across South Holland."



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