FENLANDER: Young Community Safety Champions chosen to help curb anti-social behaviour

SIX children from Peckover Primary School, Wisbech, have been taught a lesson by police on what could lie in store if they are caught shoplifting or committing some other offence.

But it wasn’t because they’d done something wrong that they were there. It was because they’ve been selected to be “Community Safety Champions” under a new project organised by the Fenland Community Safety Partnership.

And their role is to help ensure that other youngsters stay out of trouble, too.

Peckover is the first school to get involved in the project, which aims to help reduce anti-social behaviour, crime and reoffending by young people.

The visit to March police station was part of a four-day course completed by the six Year 5 pupils. They were shown exactly what happens to people who get arrested.

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They were shepherded into the back of a police van, handcuffed and fingerprinted, and told that they would have all their clothes taken away while they were detained. They were also shown the harsh reality of life in the cells.

Earlier the children had visited Wisbech Fire Station and the Boathouse for a series of safety lessons delivered by Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue and Roddons Housing Association.

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Key topics included anti-social behaviour and how to report it, fire safety and the dangers of arson, drugs, the role of CCTV and how to persuade friends to keep away from dangerous situations.

Councillor David Oliver, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for community safety, joined the children at Wisbech Fire Station. He said: “It’s good to see so many partners come together to devote their time and facilities to get this important message across and I was very impressed by how receptive the children were.”

Later the students led an assembly to the whole school on what they had learned.

Sarah Conant, Peckover’s head teacher, said: “Staff were very proud to watch the children deliver their excellent assembly. They were very articulate and it was obvious that they had enjoyed the experience and learned a lot that will help them to support other children in staying safe in the community.”

Orchards Primary School, also in Wisbech, is next in line to join the project. Its chosen champions will complete a similar course later this month and other schools will be getting involved later.

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