Motivating Our Youth in Gwent for 2022
School Police Officers in Gwent are currently leading a SchoolBeat youth engagement project with the support of the Chief Constable and PCC. Known as MOY – Motivating Our Youth – this summer programme embodies our commitment to help children in Gwent lead happy, healthy and safe lives.
School Police Officers have worked hard to arrange twenty days of events across four weeks. Activities have been carefully selected to provide a mix of heritage, physical exercise, and learning about the natural environment of Wales, while ensuring that the pupils in our care are guided by experienced professionals to ensure their safety. The first week welcomes residents of Newport and Abergavenny, who will participate in a series of events including outdoor sports, visits to historic sites, guided nature walks, and team-building activities.
Young people have been nominated by their schools for a variety of reasons. For some, the MOY programme can provide a week of activities that might not be available to them otherwise. Some pupils have made a noted improvement where once they were thought to be at risk. For these pupils MOY is aspirational and reflects the pupil’s progress in being a positive contributor to their school community. Some may have suffered bereavement or have other issues at home. For these young people, MOY aims to provide a change of scene and aims to start the summer period with a group experience.
During term-time, our officer team deal with incidents that are reported in schools, and deliver a curriculum of crime prevention education lessons through the national Wales Police Schools Programme. The decision to deploy school police officers on this youth-specialist project demonstrates Gwent Police’s determination to work hard to make our communities happier and safer all year round.
PC Paul Jones, a School Police Officer from our Caerphilly team, said, “The Motivating our Youth project, run by Gwent Police School Beat officers and supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent and Chief Officers, has been successfully running for several years now. Each summer we engage with over 120 young people through activity days with an aim to build skills, friendships and confidence and encourage a positive relationship with the police service. As Police Officers we often notice a real difference in individuals between the beginning and the end of the week as positive attitudes emerge and the young people challenge themselves with new experiences supported by the School Beat team. Feedback from parents and Carers also supports this, with many saying the scheme has had a positive impact on their child. We hope that each young person will take this forward with them through life.”
Andy Holland from Gwent Police School Liaison said, “A lot has been said in recent years about the harms caused by adverse childhood experiences: Motivating Our Youth is an example of the work Gwent Police are doing to work to prevent this harm becoming long term. We want to re-balance the scales a little and, if we can, provide these young people with an experience which creates happy memories and inspires internal growth. The pupils who are selected for MOY have often been through a tough year and this summer programme aims to provide a bridge towards a brighter future.”
Faith McCready the National Lead of the Wales Police Schools Programme said: “Motivating Our Youth is an example of how we can work together with our police family to resource a project focussed on developing young people at a critical time in their lives. Excellent work like this is made possible through our close partnership with schools. Our long-term goal is to reduce the number of young people entering the criminal justice system, and local initiatives like this complement the activities provided in schools through our national programme. I’d like to praise the Gwent School Police Officer team for their work in making this happen, particularly PC Paul Jones for taking the lead in terms of planning and logistics. Taking on additional projects like this shows the officers’ dedication to working directly with young people to form more engaged, personable and welcoming communities.”