Officers attend Blacon High School as part of new safeguarding initiative
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Officers from Cheshire Police along with staff from WDP New Beginnings team attended at Blacon High school today (Wednesday 2 March) to roll out a new initiative aimed at safeguarding young people to prevent them from becoming victims of criminal exploitation.
PC Julia Williams, Chester’s Local Policing Unit lead for child exploitation, visited the school with Blacon Beat Managers PC Dan Saxon and PCSO Jo Pendrey and DI Nick Henderson.
They were also joined by PC Steph Allinson and her dog Otis, who is specially trained to indicate the presence of drugs. During their visit PC Allison and Otis toured the school and engaged with pupils at break time.
Staff from WDP’s New Beginnings team delivered whole school assemblies to pupils about illegal substances to explain what health and wellbeing support is available to young people.
Officers from Cheshire Police also spoke about the laws in relation to illegal substances and the consequences of being caught.
Detective Inspector Nick Henderson, from Chester Local Policing unit, said: “This initiative is not about criminalising young people or excluding them from school.
“Instead, the aim is to engage and educate pupils about the health risks of taking illegal substances, inform them of the potential consequences in terms of criminal offences and most importantly to raise their awareness of the risk of becoming criminally exploited.
“This is a proactive partnership prevention and safeguarding initiative the sole aim of which is to keep the young people in Chester safe from those who seek to exploit them.”
During the visit amnesty bins have been on site to provide pupils with the opportunity to dispose of anything that they shouldn’t be in possession of.
Rachel Hudson, Head teacher at Blacon High School, said: “Today, we welcomed the opportunity for students to speak to the Police and staff from the WDP New Beginnings in assemblies, the highlight of which was meeting Otis, the Police dog.
“It is so important for students to learn about the risks of drugs and this experience was a key part of our work to inform students of the facts, enabling them to make positive choices as part of this Cheshire wide initiative.”
Jane Murphy, of WDP New Beginnings team, added: “The initiative worked well in collaboration with the police and school, it was informative and well received. Young people engaged and asked questions at the end.”
If you would like to talk to someone about your, or someone else’s drug or alcohol use, please contact New Beginnings’ free and confidential service on 0300 303 4549 or [email protected]