Junior police in Kempston have been given sound advice from Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Kathryn Holloway joined officers from the force’s Junior Police Squad at the Grange Academy, warning pupils of the dangers of gang, knife and gun crime as they completed their programme.
Commissioner Holloway said: “The staff at the Grange tell me this programme has been an overwhelming success. Not only have pupils learnt valuable skills around team work and self-discipline, but one pupil has even recorded the details of a crime which successfully led to police action.
“My Junior Police Squads have helped to build a real bond of trust and confidence between police officers and pupils.
“This is particularly important in the case of the Grange where pupils have truly benefited from learning about hate crime towards those with disabilities and other needs, to help make them safer,” said the Commissioner.
The Grange Academy’s deputy head teacher, Catherine Assink, said: “It has been invaluable to those who took part. During a recent Ofsted inspection they were able to demonstrate that, due to being part of the Junior Police Squad, one of the children felt confident enough to report a crime in detail to the police.”
Junior Police Squads have been funded by the Commissioner in pilot schools throughout the county and are generally run for pupils aged 11 to 12.
Sergeant Ben Dimmock, who works on behalf of Bedfordshire Police to run the squads, said: “When we first began the children were not focused, but now I feel really proud of them and how far they have come.
“They have had to learn a lot, but have all done really well. All the schools have been invited to Bedfordshire Police Headquarters to see the custody suite, dogs and firearms.
“There will be on-going support for the school and those old enough will be able to have a chance to look into the police cadets.”
The Commissioner added: “The Junior Police Squads have been so successful that I intend to back the creation of single term courses in many more schools next year to make sure a much larger number of pupils gain the benefits and, hopefully, to try to build a long-term legacy so that some of these pupils enjoy a future career as officers in Bedfordshire Police.”