A ‘passing out parade’ was held as Bedfordshire Police’s Junior Police Squad marked the end of its first year.
The force hosted two events at police headquarters in Kempston on Saturday, July 8 and Sunday, July 9, to congratulate the children for all their hard work.
Putnoe Primary School and Grange Academy, Kempston, ‘passed out’ on Saturday, and were presented with certificates by T/Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire. St Martin De Porres Primary School, Luton, and Brooklands Middle School, Leighton Buzzard, ‘passed out’ on Sunday and were presented with certificates by Chief Constable Jon Boutcher.
The Junior Police Squad was launched in 2016 and is aimed at children between nine and 11 years old. The scheme, is supported by Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, aims to develop and maintain trust in the force through positive interaction.
The commissioner funded the uniforms, worn to perform their duties, consisting of a polo shirt and cap with the Junior Police Squad logo.
Sergeant Ben Dimmock, who introduced the scheme to Bedfordshire, said: “We have had a really busy first year, and holding the two passing out parades was a great way to say thank you to all of the children for their hard work. The Junior Police Squad team have worked closely with all the schools over the past year, attending each once every two weeks to deliver educational sessions on a variety of topics.
“Our aim is not only to educate young people on things like personal safety and the dangers of things like knife crime, but to show them that Bedfordshire Police is a force that works hard and has the children’s best interests, as well as the best interests of their community, at heart.”
T/Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, who attended the ceremony on Saturday, paid tribute to the young members, telling them: “The Junior Police Squad is a fantastic initiative, and it was a pleasure to meet some of the young people involved. They should all be very proud of themselves, and from what I hear we may be welcoming some along as Police Cadets when they are old enough!”
Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway said: “I could not be more delighted with the success of our Junior Police Squad.
“We have been able to reach out to young people in schools where, in excess of, 40 languages are spoken.
“It has allowed us, as a force, to build bridges in some communities where trust in the police is not automatically forthcoming, and even to create a legacy for future recruitment into the force.”
Next year, the Junior Police Squad will expand to nine schools in the county, working with three per term.