This week Merseyside Police’s Community Engagement Unit has teamed up with local charitable organisation and youth club, Mind, Body and Soul, to offer nine young people the chance to take part in a week-long work experience scheme at Merseyside Police.
The participants, aged 15 to 18, have spent the week visiting specialist departments and units from across the force, to find out more about the work of Merseyside Police and what it’s like to be a police officer. To hopefully inspire them to choose a future policing career and join the force’s next generation of PCs.
Across the week, the students spent time with specialist officers from Traffic, Firearms, Matrix, Custody and the Merseyside Police Mounted and Dog units.
They learnt about the different roles of these officers and how they all work together to keep the communities of Merseyside safe. The students also took part in training exercises to see how officers carry out arrests and use equipment and how they use stop and search.
The force’s Crime Scene Investigation team taught the students about evidence collection, including fingerprints, DNA, blood patterns and fibre samples and how these techniques help solve crime.
At the end of the week, the students put all their learning into practice and played the role of a police officer in a series of different mock scenarios including a drug dealing incident, a theft in a shop and dealing with someone drunk and disorderly.
Chief Constable Serena Kennedy met with the students at the end of the week and they spoke to representatives from Merseyside Police Cadets, the Special Constabulary and the force’s recruitment team to learn more about the different routes available to join the force.
Phil Cragg, a Constable in the Community Engagement Unit and co-ordinator of the work experience scheme said: ‘I am delighted with how well this week has turned out for the students; the feedback has been really positive. I think the main strength of a work experience week like this is the variety of roles and departments the students get to see first-hand, but also the opportunity that we get to learn from the students themselves, finding out things we could do differently and how we can better support and work with young people in our communities.’
Sarah Kenwright, Superintendent, Community Engagement Unit, said ‘We are delighted to be able to offer this work experience scheme and give young people an insight into policing in Merseyside. We really want to improve our relationship with young people by helping them understand our work and letting them meet and talk to us on a personal level. We ultimately aim to become their employer of choice and attracting young people from under-represented backgrounds into policing so we can be representative of our communities is extremely important to us. Working with Mind, Body and Soul to deliver this scheme has hopefully helped these nine students learn more about policing and inspired them to join us in the future.’
Ben Odwongo, the teacher from the Mind, Body and Soul society, said: ‘We have recently conducted some research which shows that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds tend to be under-represented within the NHS, Fire and Rescue and the Police Service. We are looking at ways to address this and that is why we are really grateful for Merseyside Police being able to offer this opportunity for our students. We find that some students at this age can be drawn down the wrong path so being able to channel them in a positive direction and show them different career options is a real benefit.’Victoria, 18, one of the young people taking part in the work experience week, said: ‘It has been a really productive and varied week, I didn’t realise there was so many departments that you could specialise in. A particular highlight for me has been speaking with the officers themselves, both on a personal level and informal level, where we have been able to ask them questions and give them our feedback which we haven’t had the opportunity to do before and I found this really interesting.’