Mini Police is a fun and interactive volunteering opportunity for children aged between 9 and 11 and sees members support their local force priorities through participation in community events.
The Mini Police programme is now part of the Volunteer Police cadets organisation offer nationally originated in Durham, aims to build trust with communities, promote responsible citizenship and help young people establish an interest and understanding in policing and community safety.
An eight-week trial of the scheme launched at Harpenden Academy back in April and saw 28 pupils put through their paces by local Volunteer Police Cadets Jamie Head, Jac Mansell and Sadie Sundt.
During this time the children learnt about police procedures and the law, road safety and looked at ways to tackle the dangerous parking outside their school.
Class teacher Billie Foster said: “It was a huge privilege to be part of the Mini Police programme. It’s been great fun and the children have loved every minute of it. Their confidence and behaviour has improved drastically and they have also further developed their social skills. The Cadets who led the programme were brilliant and have been such a positive influence on the children.”
To mark the completion of the trial, pupils visited the Constabulary’s Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City on Wednesday (June 20) to receive certificates in front of invited guests, including the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss CBE, the deputy Mayor of Harpenden Brian Ellis and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner David Gibson.
Chief Inspector for St Albans and Harpenden Stuart Cheek was also in attendance, alongside the Constabulary’s Workforce Planning Superintendent Clare Smith and Crime Reduction and Community Safety Chief Inspector Stuart Orton.
During the visit, the children were given a tour of the Force Communications Room and a demonstration by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit.
Sergeant Steve Alison, who led the trial alongside Sergeant James Lacey, said: “The Mini Police programme is a fantastic way to break down barriers and increase trust, while also educating children about policing matters. We’re really pleased that the trial was so successful and look forward to rolling it out across the county - who knows, we may even discover some future police officers!”
The scheme will be rolled out at nominated schools across the county in the autumn, utilising the skills of police cadets, volunteers and Safer Neighbourhood Team officers to help deliver the programme.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd, who has provided funding for the project, said: “This is a fantastic scheme which engages young people and gives them lots of training and information to keep them safe.
“Following this successful trail, I’m pleased to be able to fund a countywide roll out of the scheme so that even more children can take advantage of this programme.
“I know the children have had a great time working with the cadets and Constabulary, and I hope it inspires them to join up as cadets in the years ahead.”