Locality integration officers

15th December 2006 at 00:00
PC Nicola Page is one of five locality integration officers in the Borders.

She came off operational duty to take up one of the pilot posts, created to build a strong relationship with the community and work with partner agencies to provide a co-ordinated approach to children's services. Her job is to break down barriers between the police and young people, and to be a friendly and approachable face.

PC Page visits schools, nurseries and youth clubs across Tweeddale - the policing zone incorporating Peebles and its surrounding area. There are nine primaries and one secondary within her section. She talks to classes and assemblies about crime, anti-social behaviour, police powers and the justice system.

She has given workshops with P6 children on how to gather evidence and stages mock crime scenes with P3 and P4s. "They love CSI," she says.

Ultimately, she responds to what schools want. Issues covered include summer safety, knives, airguns, alcohol and personal safety for girls.

In response to a spate of car vandalism at the beginning of the year, PC Page organised a remote control grand prix in the leisure centre for pupils. Four garages and First Bus sponsored the event, to engage young people and educate them about the impact of vandalism in their community.

She hopes to arrange a PlayStation football competition, using a large screen in the local arts centre, to address anti-social behaviour.

A three-day event in March, called Crucial Crew, ran a series of workshops on elements of safety for P7 pupils. The children learned about fire, road, building site, water and forestry safety, as well as first aid, bus travel and the effects of smoking.

While it is too early to say whether crime levels have dropped and if the pilot is making a difference, PC Page believes the benefits are clear.

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