“Mini police officers” have been celebrating the first anniversary of the Nottinghamshire scheme with cakes, police cars and Pip the police dog.
Nottinghamshire Police ‘s “mini-police” scheme, which launched in January 2018, gives children in the county the chance to learn about policing as well as gaining skills.
And pupils from High Oakham Primary School, Nottingham Road, Mansfield, are among those who have taken part over the past 12 months.
Teagan Davis, one such student, said he enjoyed meeting the police dogs, particularly Pokey, a Belgian shepherd who aged just 13 weeks at the time.
Teagan, aged 10, who is now considering a future carer in the police force, said: “We have picked litter to help the environment and the community and we also did a cyber bullying workshop – I know how to stay safe online.”
Isabelle Mathews, also 10, said she enjoyed meeting police officers.
She said: “I had never spoke to a policeman before.
“We now also know how to stay safe on the roads – you shouldn’t have your headphones in because you can’t hear the cars.”
Both students said they now feel comfortable approaching a police officer.
During the birthday celebrations at force headquarters in Arnold, the students got to meet cocker spaniel Pip the newest police dog, take a look inside an unmarked police car and speak to members of the force’s underwater and specialist search unit, who can dive in waters up to 50m.
Chief Inspector Sukesh Verma said plans are now in place to expand the number of schools involved in the mini police scheme from five to 18.
He said: “We want to teach them about safety, cyber crime and hate crimes.
“We aim to eventually have all schools on board.
“It is important to engage at grass roots. In places where the mini police have launched the amount of missing children has reduced.”
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper said: “The year has gone very quickly, but the children have really matured. They have come to the station, had a look at various custody suites, the control room , some of our cars and everyone loves a police dog, so we have taken them to see them.
“It engages with the children to realise what the police are trying to do which is to keep people safe, it allows them to tell us what we need to do for the young community and what is important.”