Champions of community safety

THE latest group of Junior Neighbourhood Watchers in Leamington have been learning how to stay safer on both buses and the internet, as well as practising their suspect ‘recognition skills.’

Kate Bailey, one of the founder members of the Mid-Warwickshire Neighbourhood Watch Association, has been helping police community support officers Joe Holland and Matt Slemensek to run extra lessons in crime prevention with ten and 11-year-olds at Telford Primary School.

The once a week after-school sessions have already been successfully run over six weeks at Lillington, Brookhurst and Milverton primary schools and are about to start at St Paul’s.

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PCSO Holland said: “The children are all about to move on to secondary schools and so this is a good time to give them some basic tips about keeping safe. In some cases it can be simple things like travelling in pairs, where possible and trying to sit downstairs on a bus where the driver can see them.”

But Mrs Bailey also helped the officers do some training in observational skills such as how to remember the licence plates of suspicious vehicles and appearing at some sessions in different clothing to test their descriptive powers.

Taylor, aged 11, learned the importance of not throwing letters containing personal details in the rubbish bin.

She said: “If you don’t have a shredder we were told to burn or compost items.”

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Billy, aged ten, learned how to associate words with the number plates of cars parked in suspicious places while Bailey said: “We were advised to identify five people we trusted if anything happens that upsets us. With five, if the first person is not available, like your mum, you can tell the next person.”

The youngsters were also shown fingerprinting techniques and given useful free gadgets such as a bell that could be attached to purses or bags to alert them to pickpockets.

Head teacher Richard Siviter said: “I think our pupils got an awful lot out of these sessions.”

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