Report of the expert committee on how to deal with children in trouble which influenced the establishment of the Children's Hearings system


Relationship between the Police and the Schools


1. A scheme was introduced by the Chief Constable of Nottingham in November, 1961, with the approval and co-operation of the Director of Education and the Education Committee, the aim being

"to promote a better understanding between children and the police, by arranging visits to schools lasting for a week or more, and introducing to the children, officers from the various police departments and their equipment, at the same time stimulating and assisting them in an educational project with "The Police" as the focal point."

2. The Scheme is conducted and supervised by a Detective Sergeant who is the Crime Prevention Officer at Force Headquarters.

3. The Sergeant meets the head teacher and staff of the school and outlines the Scheme, which has become known as "Police Week". He conducts the teaching staff on a tour of Police Headquarters and of the courts, and explains the functions of the various departments. This prior knowledge helps teachers considerably in their individual approach to "Police Week" in relation to the particular age-group of their class.

4. One week prior to "Police Week", the Sergeant talks to the whole school after morning Service and tells them about the Scheme and what is expected of everyone taking part. From that moment the children begin to collect library books, and other material about the police, and the teaching staff arrange for all lessons to have a police flavour, for example, maths might include radio car mileage, cost of maintaining police horses and dogs, their height, weight, breed and uses etc., distance travelled by radio patrols, and so on. A little science on the origin of radio, and how it is used by the police; such things as marine life from the frogman; and models and pictures as part of art lessons. A display is arranged in the school hall consisting of police photographs covering every section, equipment such as old and new handcuffs, truncheons, helmets, lamps, old prison keys, police riot rattles, whistles, and education and law books used by police and cadets.

5. Monday morning comes and the Sergeant arrives at the school in uniform, just before 9 o'clock, and joins the children and staff at Morning Prayers. During the first day he has a class at a time in the school hall, near the display, and talks to them about a variety of subjects, at the same time impressing upon them that the policeman is always a friend of children, but there are times when he has to exercise his authority as an officer of the law. This is the theme throughout the week. He outlines the history of the police, their training and work, going on to speak of offences and nuisances which some children commit, such as trespassing in buildings, on railways, or building sites, damaging property and trees, bullying, cruelty to animals, dangers on the road, the correct use of the "999" system, youth clubs, lost and found property and the dangers of taking rides with strangers in motor vehicles. They are reminded of the importance of self respect; respect for parents and teachers; prestige of their school, punctuality, helping old people and younger or handicapped children, in other words, the way to good citizenship.

6. During the week the children write about the police and their work and are visited by other officers, including detective officers, policewomen and cadets, who come into the school and talk to them about their particular duties in the Force, including demonstrations by police dogs, horses, frogmen, radio cars, and motor cycles. The week comes to an end and the Sergeant takes leave of all the many friends (staff and children) he has made at the school.

7. A few days later he sends police transport to bring a party of children to Police Headquarters where they are shown round. They are also taken to the police stables, police dog training school, and to a new sub-divisional police station.

8. Afterwards, the interest of the children in the police is maintained by a uniformed officer who "adopts" the school and looks in every 6 weeks, offering his services to the headmaster in a variety of ways, e.g., refereeing or controlling sporting events, talking to children in class about seasonal topics such as dangers of rivers, boating, gravel pits, bonfires and fireworks, etc. This officer is known as the "Continuation Officer". He is a volunteer with a keen interest in and a flair for this class of work. There is no shortage of applicants. The most rewarding aspect of this scheme is the interest taken both by the teaching staff and the children; and the vast amount of written and pictorial work produced by the scholars, with many delightful drawings of police dogs, horses, cars, graphs and models etc.

9. It is appreciated that the benefits from a scheme of this kind, designed to produce a close and friendly association with the police at an impressionable age will take some time to develop, but the ultimate outcome cannot fail to produce some good and lasting effect upon children during the process of growing-up, and be a guiding influence to them in later years, when faced with moments of decision, danger or temptation. At first, there was some doubt amongst teaching staff as to the need for the police to come into school for a whole week; and the reactions of parents were also considered. All these things were discussed and settled at the original planning stage. It can now be said that the scheme has been wholeheartedly received by everyone and so far there has been no adverse criticism of any kind. On the contrary, the Chief Constable has received many letters of praise from head teachers and from parents, and there is not the slightest doubt that the scheme has been a great success in Nottingham, and becomes even more successful as time goes on.

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