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Christchurch school children treated to Police visit

Nēke Mete and Julie Biswa, both year 3. Photo: Geoff Sloan

Imagine coming out of your classroom to see the Police waiting for you.

Waltham School students were treated to a special day and got to learn more about the roles of the New Zealand Police.

Several Police vehicles and eight Police officers were on site and children were able to climb into cars and go through the community hub vehicle, seeing the blue and red flashing lights and hearing the sirens.

There were Police uniform dress-ups and a chance to have a close-up look at all the things carried by an officer on their heavy vests, including torches, tasers and handcuffs.

Waltham School is part of Canterbury Neighbourhood Support’s school programme.

Co-ordinator Elissa Smith organised the visit so the pupils could learn about keeping safe in your community, the benefits of knowing your neighbours and being prepared for emergencies.

“The focus of the visit is for children to have fun [and] at the same time, learning that the role of the Police is to help and protect us,” she said.

“This is important for children; they need assurance that adults are sorting out things that seem scary to children.

“Some children have a fear of the Police because they hear or are threatened by comments from adults that describe Police in a negative way.”

The children were given an opportunity to ask questions.

“We were impressed with the range of questions and how well they were thought out,” said Senior Sergeant Roy Appley.

Pupils asked if the Police worked at night, why the lights are blue and red and one of the most respectful questions was “if it’s such a dangerous job, why did you choose to do it?”

Canterbury Neighbourhood Support runs the programme in 14 primary schools in Christchurch. It is a leadership opportunity for students.

They choose and lead projects in their school that cover information from emergency services, projects that benefit the local environment or develop empathy and community spirit in children.

The long-term goal of the programme is that these children will be active members of their community and developing the Neighbourhood Support concept of looking after your neighbours to create safer, and more resilient communities.

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