An officer from New Zealand was so impressed with the work Cheshire Police Safer Schools Team does with their local schools she made the 11,633 mile trip to find out more.
On Friday 21 June 2019, the Safer Schools Team were joined by Terri Middleton, a Senior Constable from Greymouth. The officer works in a prevention role in partnership with schools on the West Coast of South Island. She made contact several months ago having visited Cheshire Police’s website and discovering the engagement work the Safer School Youth Partnership Team (SSYP) were doing with schools and young people in the area.
Terri was awarded funding through the Woolf Fisher Police Fellowship to visit international counterparts to learn about school lockdown procedures, find out about resources delivered to students and observe how effective strategies are implemented.
As part of her three week study visit, she will link in with other police colleagues in Yorkshire, Wales and Merseyside. She will report back on her findings when she returns to New Zealand.
Terri last visited the UK more than 30 years ago and was pleased that although it was raining during her trip it is much warmer in the UK as New Zealand are currently having their winter.
Having spent the day with the Cheshire SSYP Team Terri said: “I found the whole day really informative, it was interesting to hear how the Police Community Support Officers play an important early contact role in youth engagement, as that role doesn’t specifically exist in New Zealand.
“I can see how the regular meetings allow the team to share ideas, reflect on previous incidents and generally support each other to make sure youths are educated and supported in the most effective ways was very useful.
“Taking part in the collaboration meeting with the Complex Youth and SSYP Team in the afternoon allowed me to get a better understanding of how Cheshire are working hard to prevent young people from entering the criminal justice system, I’d like to say thanks to everyone involved in allowing me to visit and being such lovely hosts. I was able to chat to everyone in the team and ask lots of questions. It’s reassuring to know that although we are on the other side of the globe there are so many shared ways that young people are being safeguarded.”
Cheshire Police Youth Engagement Co-ordinator PC Amy Fletcher said: “It was an absolute pleasure to host Terri, who is a very experienced officer. It was interesting to find out about similar approaches but also new ideas which will be helpful in future to myself and the SSYP Team.
“It was fascinating to learn about the vast area and huge number of schools that Terri has to cover and how she overcomes those challenges to engage with her community. I am hoping for a reciprocal visit but I think there is a queue of people wanting to be involved if any trip does go ahead.”