Additional Benefits of the Programme

Girouard (2001), states that school police officers serve a multifaceted role which incorporates the duties of:

Law enforcement officer, counsellor, teacher, and liaison between law enforcement, schools, families, and the community.

Their role includes:

  • Combating youth crime
  • Combating substance use and misuse
  • Teaching about crime prevention and safety
  • Creating respect for the law
  • Promoting positive citizenship
  • Teaching about the law and the specific legal rights and responsibilities of young citizens 

The School Community Police Officers (SCPOs) delivering the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme have a very special role in schools. They work in partnership with schools, and local agencies to effectively prevent crime. They work towards a long term solution to crime, the fear of crime and quality of life issues. Their work is proactive as it aims to prevent and thus to spare both the potential victim and potential offender.

The Programme itself is highly regarded and provides pupils with current information on a variety of topics and is delivered in a way which engages young people. It helps to safeguard children and positively contributes to their safety and wellbeing.

The SCPOs deliver crime prevention lessons in all primary and secondary schools and PRUs across Wales. In addition they provide an element of supportive school policing assisting schools in the difficult role of ensuring pupil wellbeing. This duality of role provides several benefits:

  • it raises pupil and school staff awareness and understanding of many crime prevention issues
  • the SCPOs are credible as they have expert knowledge of the topics covered and experience of ‘real life’ situations which teaching staff do not
  • it provides accurate information on drugs the law and the consequences of breaking the law
  • it promotes positive attitudes which help to divert young people from entering the youth justice system
  • it increases pupil awareness that actions have consequences and encourages pupils to take greater responsibility for their own actions
  • the Programme encourages pupils to voice their opinions, work with others, make decisions and improve their own learning 
  • it is continually evolving and responding to new issues to ensure pupils have up to date safety information
  • officers can assist schools with writing policy; dealing with incidents and being able to follow up with targeted lessons if an issue is identified
  • the relationships which develop help to promote mutual respect and understanding between young people and the Police

The Programme has clearly contributed significantly to extremely positive relationships between SCPOs and the young people with whom they have engaged (Cardiff University)

  • it assists teachers with support for the early detection of inappropriate behaviour which might be able to bring about relevant behavioural changes
  • the use of the School Crime Beat Protocol and restorative approaches helps prevent the criminalisation of young people
  • evaluation shows that the Programme has influenced pupil attitudes and behaviour in relation to the topics taught e.g. pupils aged 13 – 14 years of age stated that, the lessons with the police officer helped:

o   84% of them to decide what they think is right and wrong.

o   74% of them to behave responsibly outside school.

o   84%of them to treat other people with respect.

o   63% of them to be less likely to try cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.

  • police officers can provide advice to teachers which is a far more supportive alternative than formally recording an incident 
  • officers enhance pupil feelings of safety at school and so contribute to the pupils’ academic achievement by preventing crime in the schools and the surrounding community
  • parents consider police involvement in schools as another safety net for their child and this provides extra reassurance for them.