YOUNGSTERS from Kirkby’s Coxmoor estate have been helping in the drive against arson by teaming up with their local police beat team.
The Kirkby East/Coxmoor beat team, along with 30 pupils from Abbey Hill primary school, went out on the estate to speak to residents as part of the Helping Hands Awards Scheme.
Pupils from Years 5 and 6 were joined by beat managers, Pc Jan Dickson and CPO John Painter, as they went to visit householders to talk about the effects of arson and what can be done to stop it.
PCSOs Philip Burn and Victoria Batterham have been holding regular educational sessions at the school, with one of the issues raised by the children being arson.
In the last year, there have been 77 fires at Coxmoor, with 68 started deliberately.
Said PCSO Burn: “We are trying to change their views and perceptions about anti-social behaviour and arson by explaining the considerable amount of emotional and financial distress it can cause.
“They are also taking these messages to their families and friends, which we hope will help change the attitudes of other people as well.”
While they were out on the streets, the pupils took photographs of fire damage.
Added PCSO Burn: “This could have huge benefits in the long term as they are now considering the massive impact their actions could have on the people who live here.”
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is also supporting the Helping Hands scheme .
Louise Snodin, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety Advocate for Ashfield, said: “The children have shown real pride and ownership in the area in which they live and it would be fantastic if, through the children, we can enlist the support of the whole community in what they are trying to achieve.
“By tackling the very serious issue of deliberate fire setting and recording their findings in a scrap book they are demonstrating a positive and passionate desire to improve their area and make it a better and more harmonious place for all who live there.
“We are happy to support them in their venture.”
The pupils will continue to work with the beat team for the next two months and they will hand in a portfolio of work to a panel of judges at the Helping Hands charity to be in with the chance of winning up to £1,000 prize for their school.