Nottinghamshire Mini Police including Mansfield youngsters celebrated its first anniversary on Friday, February 1.
The Nottinghamshire police scheme, which launched in January 2018, aims to give children in the county the chance to learn about policing as well as gaining vital skills for the future and having fun.
Students from High Oakham Primary School, in Mansfield, and Carnarvon Primary School, in Bingham, attended a birthday celebration hosted by Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper.
The youngsters met officers from the Operational Support team including police training pups Pip and Billy, sat in a police car and met the force’s Underwater and Specialist Search Unit’s experiences and enjoyed a slice of birthday cake.
In the last 12 months the Mini Police members have:
Visited Force Headquarters, where they learned about using radios, had a tour of our Control Room and interviewed ACC Steve Cooper;
Received water safety education from the Royal National Lifeboat Institute;
Met some of the force’s police dogs including drugs dog Ross, general purpose dog Nibbles, new recruit PD Pokey and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue’s dog Dexter;
Received road safety education and helped officers use vehicle speed detection equipment as part of a local Speedwatch;
Spoken to our Underwater and Specialist Search Unit and had a demonstration of their equipment and search vehicle;
Opened Bingham Fair with the Mayor and joined officers on patrol;
Learnt about the world of forensic science, including taking fingerprints while also raising money for Children In Need;
Helped their community by litter picking within local parks;
Took an active part in lessons around cyberbullying and delivered important messages about keeping safe online through presentations to other students;
Joined youth organisations, veterans and military personnel at remembrance services across the county in November, including providing a guard of honour for the force’s remembrance service;
Met Don Sutton, a 100-year-old war veteran who was awarded the Legion d’Honneur;
And last year, the force also hosted the inaugural Mini Police Conference at Mansfield Police Station.
The Mini Police now boasts a cohort of more than 170 Year 5 and 6 students, aged between 9 and 11, and is working with five schools, with plans to include more schools, particularly within Nottingham City, in the coming year.
The schools currently involved are: Greenfields Community School, The Meadows; Bishop Alexander Academy, Newark; High Oakham Primary School, Mansfield; Carnarvon Primary School, Bingham; Southwark Primary School, Basford.
ACC Steve Cooper said: “This is all about educating and engaging with young people from an early age – they are our next generation of, not only possible police officers, but community leaders, parents and teachers.
“If we take the time to empower them with the skills they will need for the future, we stand a much better chance of building strong, cohesive and confident communities for many years to come.
“I’d like to thank the students for being such fantastic ambassadors for their schools and communities as well as the schools and teachers themselves.
“I understand some of the teachers have been framed in investigations and even handcuffed and put into police vans this year.
“That is real commitment and I’m sure the students thoroughly enjoyed getting to lock their teachers up.”
Chief Inspector Suk Verma, force lead for Citizens in Policing at Nottinghamshire Police, said: “When we first launched the Mini Police in 2018, I never imagined we’d be working with a 170-strong cohort, celebrating their first birthday.
“I’m really pleased that all of the students have enjoyed their experience so far.
“Looking to the future, we have exciting plans around expanding the Mini Police to reflect the communities we serve and I’m looking forward to welcoming more students over the coming months.
“It’s a great opportunity for youth engagement and education.“