SchoolBeat team visit Urdd Eisteddfod 2017

Tarian the Dragon and the SchoolBeat team had a great time visiting the Urdd Eisteddfod 2017.  The annual youth cultural festival of Wales was host to a Police stand with a variety of activities from teams including the Joint Scientific Investigations Unit and South Wales Bridgend NPT,  supported by the Police Youth Volunteers and the Force Communications team with items on display from the Police Museum.

Bridgend Neighbourhood Policing Team and Police Youth Volunteers maintained a strong uniformed presence both at the Police stand and around the site.  Members of the public discussed with officers and staff their views on policing and the solutions that are currently available in their communities.

Activities for young people included fingerprinting and an exhibit of other crime-solving science.  The daily competition drew lots of attention as visitors orbited the various stands, asking questions and finding answers.  A well-designed quiz lead to engagement at each stand and helped each team deliver effectively.

Adults and children alike took interest in the 150-year selection of Police accoutrements and communications gear.   While the oldest items there date from Victorian times, newer items were familiar to long-serving officers, some of whom had clear memories of the heavy 1980’s radios.

Tarian the Dragon made plenty of visits out onto the Maes to be introduced to lots of friendly children  – some of whom remember him from his visits to their classrooms!  While Tarian wasn’t out taking selfies and charming the public, he was pleased to see lots of faces painted with his red dragon image.  Our educators and volunteers brought a smile to many a cheek!

Staff from SchoolBeat discussed our all-Wales school liaison programme with parents, and reviewed core curriculum points with young people, as well as giving out safety tips and guides from South Wales Police and NSPCC.  A number of School Community Police Officers were at the event, proving to be familiar faces to local pupils and providing reassurance and security for all visitors on foot patrol.

Operational Support visited to discuss the use of Police drones for crime scene investigation, showing off a drone that is due to be put into service, and discussing the law around drone flight.

Although the weather brought a few showery spells, the team had plenty of time to step outside and greet the public every day.  Through the week the team completed hundreds of Welsh language engagement questionnaires and family competition entries, and painted the face of over 500 visitors.

Great fun was had by all and the team is now looking forward to visiting North Wales Police for the National Eisteddfod of Wales in August 2017 on the isle of Anglesey.

Catherine Lewis, School Liaison Coordinator for South Wales Police, said:

“This very well organised event started with a bustling bank holiday and a great opportunity to speak with young and old about the excellent work undertaken by School Community Police Officers across South Wales.

“It was so encouraging to hear children tell us about the many things they have learned from School Officers and that many could identify their school's officer by name.  Parents were most interested in finding out more about safeguarding their children and were appreciative of advice and literature around the topic of Internet safety.  It was also a great opportunity to chat with teachers informally about our provision and promote the resources available on our SchoolBeat website.”