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Space event shows police aren’t from another planet
AN OUT-of-this-world education experience carried a serious message as part of police initiatives to connect with Wyre Forest youngsters.
Vanessa Halford, district youth engagement community support officer for West Mercia Police, collected witness statements from pupils who were told an alien had landed at Sutton Park Community Primary School.
Ms Halford works with schools and other youth organisations across the district to educate young people about crime prevention.
Her aim is not only to keep youngsters out of trouble but help them keep their eyes and ears open, stay safe and communicate with police.
Ms Halford has also set up a facebook page to connect with youngsters.
She said: “We get very good feedback from the schools because we make lessons interesting.
“The children get to see who I am and that the police are not just about telling people off and arresting them – we are also here to help.
“We meet children who have, unfortunately, never met the police in a good light so we want them to be able to trust us.”
Ms Halford and her team have several programmes for young people such as a junior neighbourhood watch scheme, which helps Year Five pupils keep their homes safe.
Another initiative, tag rugby, helps the force promote personal safety and healthy lifestyles.
“When I go into schools, I talk about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and criminal damage and how they can avoid getting arrested,”
added Ms Halford.
Year Six pupil Ben Lord said the space alien exercise had made him feel more confident about talking to the police.
“It is something that is going to make me more aware and help my investigation skills,” he said.