As many pupils across Northumbria switch to home schooling once more – the police team from Safetyworks! is here to help make home learning just a little bit easier.
The Force’s two Safetyworks! advisors normally spend their days based in Newcastle’s West End at the state-of-the-art centre, owned by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.
The centre is popular among school children for its realistic lessons and interactive training geared at informing them of community safety and crime prevention messages.
However, resident Safeguarding Community Advisors Nichola Bone and Sean Routledge-Cole, like many in the UK, saw their ‘office’ closed following the Covid-19 outbreak.
But they haven’t let that stop them and have been busy preparing new material at home, creating web content and even manged to safely visit dozens of schools when they took the show on the road in between lockdowns.
Inspector Lynne Colledge, who leads the police’s Safetywork! Team, said: “Since the start of the Covid outbreak Safetyworks! has been closed to schools meaning the advisors have had to think of new ways to engage with the area’s young people.
“During the autumn term they took the show on the road and reached more than 1,000 pupils.
“They’ve covered topics such as sexual and criminal exploitation, drug and alcohol awareness, risky behaviours and more.”
And in an effort to reach even more children they have also been busy designing a new webpage which lists age appropriate lessons. This page is easily accessible through the Northumbria Police website and directs parents to homeschooling materials.
Insp Colledge added: “We pride ourselves on ensuring our children are educated about crime and safeguarding in order to keep themselves safe and we weren’t going to let the closure of our interactive centre stop us.
“With schools now closed to many pupils, I hope our webpage will be a useful tool for parents and children alike and help ensure that our lessons continue to reach Northumbria’s youth.”
The team have also joined forced with the Cyber Prevent teams, who provide inputs to school in respect of cyber enabled and online exploitation, and the six school liaison officers funded through Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Unit, who visit schools to discuss healthy relationships and knife crime.
PCC Kim McGuiness said: “Covid-19 has dealt a heavy blow to many of our plans to engage with young people in person this year, but it certainly hasn’t put a stop to them.
“We’ve had to find new ways to reach young people and keep up the good work. Times have been tough and many young people have needed support, advice and to connect with others more than ever and as this work shows we have been determined to deliver that.”
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have also been adapting how they engage with young people.
Lucy Fisher, Safetyworks! Manager from the Service, said: “We have had to adapt during the Covid-19 pandemic to continue to deliver our educational and engagement activities to young people in our communities.
“During the first lockdown we produced and shared educational videos covering a range of topics.
“We continue to work with schools and will be delivering virtual sessions to discuss fire safety and we hope the children who take part in these lessons can share the safety messages with their friends and families.”
To find out more visit: https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/advice-and-info/parents-and-kids/our-work-with-young-people/