Enthusiastic young constables from Sunderland’s Academy 360 Primary School are the latest recruits to join Northumbria Police.
The ten pupils are now officially ‘Mini Police’ – given their own uniforms and working with officers to learn more about the wide and varied demands of policing.
Superintendent Steve Heatley, part of the command team for policing in Sunderland and South Tyneside, presented the young constables with their uniforms and ID badges at a ceremony in the school hall in front of pupils, family and friends.
Academy 360 is the first Sunderland school to join Northumbria Police’s trailblazing Mini Police programme to engage children from a young age, increase their awareness of what police do and promote good citizenship.
The pupils will have the opportunity to work with local police and volunteer police cadets in the community, accompanying them to events, visiting police stations and learning about the support police bring to local people.
The pupils – aged nine and ten – will be instantly recognisable wearing their specially commissioned caps, waterproof jackets and Hi-Vis vests.
Academy 360’s Mini Police are: Riley MacNicol, Regan Metcalf, Callie Bewick, Keaton Young, Paige Solomon, Prince Okpoji, Chloe Dickson, Jimmy Sloanes-Graham, Kiah Johnson and Marley Robson.
Supt Heatley said: “I’m really proud to come here to meet with Sunderland’s first Mini Police.
“These children have been selected by their teachers and peer groups for their interest and enthusiasm and will now go forward and encourage other children to be Mini Police in their areas.
“Our Mini Police constables will go to events and activities with our police officers, meeting people in the community – their police badge will give them more confidence and stature.
“They will represent Northumbria Police at events such as Sunderland Airshow and the Tall Ships next year as police officers would do. The scheme encourages good behaviour, awareness and safety.”
The Mini Police scheme will now be rolled out across other schools in Sunderland.
Ruth Steckles, Academy 360 co-ordinator and Primary School Welfare Manager, said: “We are proud and privileged to be accepted onto the Mini Police scheme.
“The aim of the project is to create a fun and interactive volunteering opportunity for children.
“Through positive interaction children will develop and maintain a trust in the police. We hope that this gives our students a confident voice and an enjoyable experience associated with policing.”