Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 3:30pm |
National News

Hamilton introduces Campus Cops to schools

2 min read

In what is believed to be a national first Hamilton Police working in conjunction with the Ministry of Education have launched their 'Campus Cops' campaign placing officers in four strategically placed schools.

Hamilton Community Youth Coordinator, Senior Sergeant Lance Tebbutt, said the concept behind the Campus Cops was to further enhance the Police's ability to work with partner agencies to tackle issues in the community.

"The schools selected were identified as having key strategic locations across the City and were where we received positive support not only from principals but board of trustees as well.

"It's about building on our earlier successes working with our partners but in a school environment. The officers will be targeting not only at risk kids but their families as well, working with other agencies to find solutions to problems."

The programme kicked off yesterday with a Sergeant and three Constables taking up offices in Hamilton Girls, Melville and Fraser High Schools and Fairfield Intermediate.

"The plan is to have a Constable set up in a base at each of the schools with the sergeant coordinating their activities, the fourth Constable's position is expected to be filled next month and until then the Sergeant will cover that school," said Mr Tebbutt.

The duties of the Campus Cops will be varied but each will be expected to enhance the relationship between Police, students, teachers, families and the surrounding communities.

They will work closely not only with students but the principals of the schools, Hamilton Police Youth Aid staff, Community Constables, the Hamilton Family Safety and Violence Teams, Child Youth and Family, Ministry of Education and the City Council.

"They'll' be expected to develop strong relationships and actively promote the benefits of schooling to students while at the same time target bullying and truancy," said Mr Tebbutt.

Ministry of Education spokeswoman Jodi Ihaka said one of the key advantages of the pilot scheme was the ability to identify early intervention opportunities and refer students with problems to appropriate agencies.

"The Campus Cops won't be restricted to working on just these school sites. Rather they'll use the schools as a base to provide high visibility policing in their respective communities with a particular emphasis on liaison and support for schools in the area.

"This role provides the potential for positive, preventative policing based on closely developed relationships with staff and students. A key aim of this initiative is to reduce disruptions and youth crime," she said.

As well as working to reduce offending and truancy Mr Tebbutt said having the Campus Cops on site would offer other benefits.

"Schools, like Police, are representative of the communities they serve. By having staff readily available it gives the kids positive role models to measure themselves against and someone to give sound advice on just what is and what isn't acceptable behaviour.

"And, I'll be honest, we hope we can attract the odd recruit or two as well."

Media wishing to speak to the Campus Cops are asked to contact this office to arrange availability.

Jodi Ihaka from the Ministry of Education can be contacted on 04-463-8017.

Journalists wishing to obtain coverage from the schools are asked to contact the principals concerned.