Suffolk police chief goes back to school
THE Chief Constable of Suffolk is celebrating the first anniversary of the county's first high school community police office.Alastair McWhirter yesterday, visited the facility at Kirkley High School in Lowestoft which provides a contact point for pupils and is a base for community police officers.
THE Chief Constable of Suffolk is celebrating the first anniversary of the county's first high school community police office.
Alastair McWhirter yesterday, visited the facility at Kirkley High School in Lowestoft which provides a contact point for pupils and is a base for community police officers.
Officials at the school originally proposed the idea in order to help prevent crime and allow young people to see the positive side of policing.
Mr McWhirter, a former English and drama teacher, said: "I believe in linking education and the police and this has been a great success. The school is part of the community and this office is not just a bridge into the school but also the community.
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"These young people are the growing citizens of tomorrow and are ambassadors not only for the school but also for Lowestoft".
Deputy Head Hazel Johnson who has taught at the school for 35 years said: "It has been excellent to have police officers on site ready to deal with incidents and inquiries, such as cannabis legislation.
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"One of the most impressive aspects of the project has been the positive way pupils have responded to a police presence – a number of Year 11 students have been inspired to make policing their ultimate career aim."
Community police officer Steve Smith said officers try to come down to the office once during their 10 hour shifts to walk around the school, talk to pupils and deal with any incidents.
He said: "There was never a huge problem with crime or drugs at the school but this was always more of a bridge between the police and pupils."
The next step for the school is for pupils to set up their own crime prevention panel and monthly clinics open to the community will start shortly.
In the north of the town, police have also received an offer of a room at Benjamin Britten High School.
Meanwhile, police presence in the seaside resort will be increased when officers from Beccles, Leiston, Felixstowe and Woodbridge sectors move to the town in a bid to meet the demand for officers.
Mr McWhirter defended the decision of moving officers from predominately rural areas to a town, even though he had previously said how committed he was to rural policing.
"We're just adjusting our resources every so slightly – we're not stopping police presence in rural areas. The demand here is incredible and it was overwhelming last summer when we could not respond fast enough or not at all to events.
"Lowestoft is not that bad but with the long hot summer, people were drinking more which brought more unacceptable behaviour and there was an 18% increase in violence."