The project, aimed at 11 to 15 year olds, reached 3000 young people as members of the force were welcomed by students and staff at the Barnfield South Academy, Cardinal Newman School, Putteridge High School and Lea Manor.
Members of the Local Policing Team were be joined by Roads Policing, Scenes of Crime Officers, Recruitment and other specialised departments from the force.
There was also a helping hand thanks to colleagues from Cambridge and Hertfordshire who supported the week by sending officers form the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Firearms Unit.
The aim of the initiative was to allow young people an insight in to the daily work of the police service, dispel any rumours or myths about how officers work, introduce young people to different areas of policing including specialist teams, and importantly, give an opportunity for members of Bedfordshire Police to learn from young people within our communities.
Children and Young People’s Development Officer, Richard Denton, said: “I think it is fair to say that this series of road shows have proven to be a huge success for everyone involved. The students were able to get a proper insight into what and how Bedfordshire Police works while officers had a great opportunity to engage with youngsters to learn what issues affect them every day. I’ve also been told that school staff and teachers were just as impressed with a number signing up to become members of the Special Constabulary.
“Subjects such as policing powers and policies used by officers, including stop and search, were all discussed with the young people and they were also shown the technology that is used by all departments to perform their daily tasks.
He added: “The Recruitment Team were also on hand at the road shows to provide a further insight in to careers available in the world of policing, so hopefully a number of people may consider getting involved within their community or perhaps pursue a career in the police service.”
While the students were given the opportunity to have a supervised look at all of the teams equipment, the Firearms Unit proved to be the most appealing but before anyone had a look, a presentation was carried out to demonstrate the dangers of carrying any weapon and the consequences this would lead to.
The students were then asked to look and handle a small selection of weapons – all deactivated and chained to a table – before making a decision on whether they were real or fake. This simple task highlighted the tough decisions our highly trained firearms offices have to make on a daily basis. It also provided an opportunity to show how a BB gun or replica weapon could easily be mistaken for a real one.
Inspector Hob Hoque from the Community Cohesion Team said: “This was a great event which has been fantastically received by everyone who attended. As officers we had an excellent opportunity to engage with youngsters not as victims or suspects of crime, but as individuals and this proved to be a huge success.
“While it was just a pilot scheme I think that the positive response will no doubt see the school road shows roll out across the county next year.”
For more information about joining Bedfordshire Police and the range of careers on offer, please visit www.bedfordshire.police.uk/about_us/careers.aspx or call 01234 842398.