PCSO talking to young people about crime

A new education initiative addressing Northamptonshire Police’s matters-of-priority, including drug harm, violence against women & girls and serious violent crime has been trialled in two Corby schools thanks to a partnership between Northamptonshire Police, the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Service, the Youth Offending Service, NGAGE and other colleagues from the Criminal Justice System.

On two consecutive days last month, year 9 students from Kingswood Secondary Academy and Lodge Park Academy took part in the activities and workshops. One school saw a peer escorted from their morning assembly in a mock arrest by Northamptonshire Police, following a made-up incident at a house party where one young woman was sexually assaulted, and a male friend stabbed. In a bid to keep the scenario real, only teachers and the arrested youth knew in advance what would happen.

Following the ‘arrest’, students heard the audio of the young woman providing her statement to the police, followed by a recording of the young man boasting about the incident to his mates.

The 13- and 14-year-olds were then split into smaller groups to participate in interactive classroom sessions to discuss the scenario and the potential consequences that could fall out of such a serious crime. Pupils spent an hour with each of the partner organisations learning about the roles each agency has within in the legal and social care systems, how they support and advise young people affected by crime and how getting involved in a such crimes will impact their future.

As part of the police workshop, the pupils were shown footage from a body camera worn by the detainee after he was arrested. It showed him being booked into custody, searched and led into a cell. The students then role-played a police interview. They also discussed respect and consent and identified organisations and trusted adults who could help potential situations, including fearless.org.

At the end of the day a year 9 student commented: “This was an interesting and educational day as we did not know a lot of things about the law and young people. Getting lots of information from the Youth Service and police does make you really think about the actions and consequences and how it can affect you.”

The initiative is one of the early interventions supported by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold and aims to steer young people away from drug use, violence against women and girls and serious violence.  Stephen said: “In the county, one in four serious violence offences involves someone under the age of 18, so it is crucial that we reach the younger generation and give them the knowledge and confidence to make the right choices to avoid getting involved in or becoming a victim of serious crime.

“This initiative has been developed to draw out some of the key messages around serious crime. It tackles the misconceptions, motivations and serious consequences and explores ways in which young people can protect each other from getting involved and becoming victims.”

Following the success of both days and feedback from the pupils and schools, Northamptonshire Police Community Support Officer in Corby and organiser of the initiative, Steve Coles is keen to roll this out to other schools in the town. He said: “Secondary schools in Corby have worked in partnership with the local Neighbourhood Policing Team for many years and this latest project not only addresses current policing maters-of-priority, but also ties in closely with the schools’ values and priorities.

“We’re grateful to our partner agencies who have contributed their time and expertise to this initiative. Plans are at an advanced stage to deliver this to the remaining three secondary schools in Corby during 2023.”