‘Mini police’ officers threw their caps in the air in celebration after they were recognised at a school assembly for their outstanding work and dedication.
Year five and six pupils from Mansfield’s Wainwright Primary Academy joined the mini police initiative in September last year after a successful application by the school.
In the 12 months since, they have enjoyed regular visits from local and specialist police officers and attended multiple events and activities.
The Mini Police initiative – now in place in more than 20 schools across the county – has been designed to give young children the opportunity to learn about their safety, their role in the community and how the police work to keep people safe.
At the end of their time on the scheme, pupils were watched by their families, friends and members of the Mansfield neighbourhood policing team as they spoke about their fondest memories and the many things they had learned.
Ten-year-old Jake Clampett-Skeavington explained what he had learned during a visit to an anti knife-crime exhibition by the Ben Kinsella Trust at Nottingham’s Justice Museum.
He said: “Ben was murdered when he was out with his friends celebrating his GCSE results. We learned more about how dangerous knives can be and what can happen if we or anyone we know ever takes one out with them.”
Julia Hallam, of Wainwright Primary academy, said: “Being part of the Mini Police programme has been an amazing experience for everyone here at the academy. More importantly it has helped us to achieve many of the outcomes we wanted to achieve at the start.
“Traditionally there have been high crime rates in our area and that has historically resulted in some very negative perceptions of the police among our families.
“By bringing the police into the school as we have done we have been able to show people in the school and the wider community more about who the police actually are and what they do to keep us safe.
“The effect on the children has been fantastic. To see them change and grow as a result of this experiences has just been so rewarding. They have grown in confidence, they have grown in self esteem and they have grown in resilience because of this programme and quite a few of them now say they want to be police officers when they grow up.”
Helen Ridley BEM, partnerships officer at Nottinghamshire Police and Mini Police founder, said: “This really is the most rewarding part of my job. It is wonderful to see how the children now interact with our officers and the very obvious way that their attitude towards the police has changed as a result.
“It is so satisfying to hear so many of the children say they now want to become police officers themselves when they are older.”