Top prosecutor praises Norfolk schools

LORNA MARSH England's prosecution chief yesterday gave his personal praise to a unique Norfolk schools scheme that aims to demystify the justice system - and urged other regions to follow suit.

LORNA MARSH

England's prosecution chief yesterday gave his personal praise to a unique Norfolk schools scheme that aims to demystify the justice system - and urged other regions to follow suit.

Ken McDonald, the director of public prosecutions, was at one of only two schools in East Anglia he visited during Inside Justice week to see what Norfolk was doing to help young people understand the system and how it can help them.

The Norfolk Criminal Justice Board workshop scheme was showing pupils at Heartsease High School, near Norwich, how various agencies including Witness Support, the police, prisons and courts operate together.

Mr McDonald said not enough was being done to bring justice into the community.

The danger is that young people just have a negative view of the criminal justice system and all the agencies involved; the courts, police and probation and get a lot of negative messages themselves about the system.

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This scheme is very much in line with our community engagement strategy where we send people to meet with community groups and to schools to talk with kids.

“There is not enough done in this country on what America calls civic education and community participation. It is all very important and events like this really attempt to address those issues.”

Bob Shingleton, spokesman for the Norfolk Criminal Justice Board, said the aim of the scheme for pupils aged 11 to 14 was to make them realise that the system was not the enemy by working with young people and not against them.

During the workshops pupils saw drugs dogs seek out hidden stashes, played a Monopoly-type game to understand the process from crime to punishment and listened to talks by witness support volunteers and racism experts.

Helen Hoy and Megan Macaskill, both 12, said the scheme was “cool”.

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