Dorset Police launched their Junior Police Community Support Officer Scheme in West Howe on 28 April.
The seven week Junior PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) Scheme in West Howe, North Bournemouth includes students from Heathlands Primary School and Elm Academy.
This beneficial project has been developed to support children aged eight to 10-years-old. It aims to increase the confidence and self-esteem of the children, while promoting positive police engagement in order to encourage the children to feel confident to approach their local policing teams with community information and concerns, or for help and support.
Split into seven modules, the initiative takes place every Tuesday after school from 3.30pm–5pm. The scheme provides 20 young people with the opportunity to learn about the emergency services and how to act in an emergency. As Junior PCSOs the children will develop their team working skills as well as their personal responsibility by exploring ways to become more active members of their community.
PCSO Andy Downs, from Bournemouth North Safer Neighbourhood Team is one of the officers leading the project. He said: “We are delighted to be implementing the Junior PCSO scheme into the West Howe area. It provides local children with the opportunity to gain an insight into the emergency services, their local environment and history of the area.
“By the end of the project we intend for all of the young people to have refreshed self-esteem and an understanding of what they can achieve as a productive part of a team.
“As well as developing a positive view of emergency services, we also aim for each child to have an enhanced appreciation of the important part they play as good citizens who take care of where they live.”
Modules will include visits to police custody, the local fire station and a trip to Edward May Court, a local sheltered housing retirement residence where the children will be able to interact with the residents and learn how life was and is like for them in the area.
The children will also be visited by a member of the police dog section, a paramedic and a member of the Urban Heath Partnership who will discuss the environment and why the heath is so important, considering how fires can have a devastating effect on wildlife.
The scheme concludes with an awards ceremony which presents completion certificates to each junior PSCO to recognise their hard-work and provides an opportunity for the parents to see what their children have learned. A special trophy will be awarded to the junior PCSO who has shown the most improvement, team working skills and good citizenship throughout the project.