School liaison PSCOs start roles in Lowestoft, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Three Suffolk PCSOs employed to work with schools to provide support and guidance on policing issues and crime prevention are now in post.
Norman Drew, Teresa England and John Wilkins, Suffolk Constabulary's school liaison police community support officers, 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 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.
Sergeant Darren Oxbrow, from the community safety team said: '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.
'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.'
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The force said the roles are already having a positive impact.
Suffolk's Police and Crime Commisioner Tim Passmore said: 'I am very pleased that we have been able to allocate funding for these new roles because the link between police and schools is so crucially important.
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'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.'
Assistant chief constable, Rachel Kearton added: '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.'