School Community Watch helps keep children safe

Bracknell News

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School Community Watch helps keep children safe

Posted: 24/09/2007 09:16:59

A new scheme that encourages children to take an active part in reducing crime and disorder in their neighbourhood is being launched in primary schools across Bracknell.

School Community Watch is a version of Neighbourhood Watch, aimed initially at 10- and 11-year-old pupils in Year Six. It is intended to give youngsters more information about local crime and disorder issues, provide them with opportunities to help reduce crime, and make them feel safer.

The scheme has been piloted at Harmans Water Primary School since April 2007 and, over the next two weeks, officers from Bracknell Forest police area’s Community Safety Team will be visiting a number of other primary schools in the borough to introduce the initiative there. It is expected that School Community Watch will be rolled out to all primary schools in Bracknell Forest by the end of the 2007/08 academic year.

Bracknell’s Neighbourhood Watch coordinator Margaret Weber said: “The new scheme will help to build a good relationship between children and the police, so that they will be able to approach and talk to officers easily. I hope it will give them a clear understanding of what constitutes responsible behaviour, and also a better knowledge of the people and agencies within the community who can help them.

“We have targeted Year Six pupils in the hope that they will continue to use the scheme throughout their time at secondary school.

“Despite some people’s perceptions, the great majority of youngsters are well-behaved and care about their community. Just like adults, they are concerned about crime and don’t like to see things like graffiti and vandalism.

“School Community Watch will give young people the chance to tell us about their concerns and encourage them to contribute to problem-solving initiatives.”

PCSOs from each neighbourhood team will be visiting primary schools at regular intervals to talk to Year Six pupils and facilitate the running of the Watch scheme.

In addition, Margaret Weber has added a School Community Watch section to the Community Messaging internet site. The lively web pages contain local news, crime reduction messages and information about the community, all geared to the needs of young people.
www.tvpcommunitymessaging.org/rmwebportal/startup.aspx?&seltab=6&tabstate=Bracknell%20Forest&selectedtab=School%20Community%20Watch

Margaret said: “We’ve keen to make the website interactive, so there will be a question and answer feature, where youngsters can send in their questions anonymously and we will publish them, together with the appropriate answers.”

Year Six pupils at Harmans Water Primary School took part in a competition last summer to design a School Community Watch display board. The winner was presented with a digital camera and certificate by A/Ch Insp Simon Bowden, Commander of Bracknell local police area.

With funding from Bracknell Forest Borough Council through the Extended Schools Programme, a number of the specially-designed display boards have been produced and at least two will be installed in each school that joins the scheme.

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