School engagement ‘building trust’ in policing

School liaison police community support officers (PCSOs) are helping to “build trust and confidence” in policing and strengthen work with youth offending teams.

Jul 5, 2017

School liaison police community support officers (PCSOs) are helping to “build trust and confidence” in policing and strengthen work with youth offending teams. Three officers have been deployed by Suffolk Constabulary to coordinate and promote the force’s new school engagement programme, and are already having a positive impact. “This is an opportunity to further strengthen our work with the youth offending team, dealing dynamically and effectively with children who may be at risk of committing crime,” said Sergeant Darren Oxbrow from the Suffolk Constabulary community safety team. “Early intervention is often the key in stopping lives spiralling in the wrong direction. The three school liaison officers will enhance the work we do providing best outcomes when dealing with school-related incidents.” The three PCSOs – Norman Drew, Teresa England and John Wilkins – will each cover one of the county’s three education areas and will be based in Lowestoft, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds respectively. They will work with students, parents and teachers to provide support and guidance on policing issues and crime prevention. The school liaison officers will work with their PCSO colleagues in each of the 18 safer neighbourhood teams across Suffolk to provide specific points of contact for schools and young people. They will participate in school life and the school community, becoming part of children and young people’s everyday experiences, increasing familiarity, confidence and trust in the police. Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton said: “There are so many issues that can affect children and young people today, from concerns over online behaviour to worries about bullying, drug use, etc. This new engagement programme will allow us to enhance our partnership working with colleagues in education. “Allowing children to build trust and confidence in policing is key. We will also work on crime prevention strategies and offer advice – our aim here is to prevent children and young people becoming victims or perpetrators of crime.” Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore added that the link between police and schools was “crucially important”. “Having these three school liaison officers working across the county will hopefully help schools manage issues with pupils to help keep the young people out of the criminal justice system, support them if they are victims of crime and prevent them from becoming victims of crime. “I think it is very sad when job opportunities in later life are ruined because of a run-in with the law in teenage years. I am a great believer in giving young people a second chance in life and I am absolutely sure that this school engagement programme will go a long way to keep many young people out of trouble.”

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