Sixth Form students are being given the opportunity to work alongside the district’s police force with an innovative volunteering scheme.
The Student Guardianship Scheme is a ten week programme, run by West Yorkshire Police, which offers students the opportunity to gain an insight into modern policing and first-hand experience of working alongside serving officers in their line of duty.
Following a successful pilot last year, which saw students assisting in car crime initiatives and raising awareness of burglary hot spots, as well as a working with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to combat nuisance fires – the pioneering scheme was recently rolled out to the current cohort of sixth form students.
Seventeen-year-old, Saniyah Shafique, who took part in the pilot, has already signed up for this year’s scheme:
“I really enjoyed taking part in the scheme last year. Each week I would sign-up for duty and accompany a police officer to patrol some of the problem areas of Bradford.
Some weeks we would visit households and speak to the general public about crime awareness, other times we would patrol areas to maintain a high visibility of police presence and deter criminal activity.
I really felt like I was making a real difference to my local community and I love patrolling in my new Student Guardian jacket with the West Yorkshire Police logo on the front – I actually felt like a police officer“.
For up to 4 hours each week, the students will support Police Officers and PCSOs in a range of duties that include delivering crime prevention messages to local resident and providing visible patrols in areas with higher levels of burglary. In particular the Student Guardians will work on a number of police initiatives currently running in the Toller Ward area around the school, including:
1. Parking Initiatives –around Squire Lane and Lingwood Drive and near the A&E entrance at the BRI. Working alongside the police officer, to distribute leaflets and talk to the general public about trying to improve safety and cut down on congestion in these target areas.
2. Burglary Initiative and OWL – talking to residents in target areas where there have been recent burglaries. Raising awareness and offering advice on crime prevention and encouraging residents to sign up for the Online Watch Link (OWL) programme.
3. Number Plate Anti-theft Programme – a hugely popular crime prevention initiate that tackles registration number plate thefts, with students helping to fit free anti- theft screws to vehicles.
4. Crime Prevention in Car Parks – helping to raise awareness among hospital staff and visitors of the rising levels of car thefts and offering advice on avoiding such incidents.
As part of the scheme students can attend training sessions on Personal Safety, Crime Prevention and a Counter Terrorism workshop, Act Now.
Annaliese Emmerson, Volunteer Project Officer who launched and manages the scheme said:
“The Student Guardianship Scheme is a unique scheme working with local schools. Students are timetabled into mainstream policing activities which can offer a unique insight into policing and provide a valuable opportunity for them to make a positive impact on their local community.
After receiving personal safety advice, they work under close police supervision, patrolling the local area and talking to the general public. We know that such schemes significantly contribute to a reduction in crime rates and provide invaluable boost to neighbourhood policing team resources “.
Head of Sixth Form, Janet Cockroft said:
“We are extremely grateful to West Yorkshire Police. This is such an incredible opportunity for students to gain vital employability skills and particularly to enhance their communication skills, whilst gaining an invaluable insight into working with the Police and other partnership agencies.’