Primary school children in Wirral have designed posters to educate young people about the dangers of engaging in anti-social behaviour around Halloween and Bonfire Night.
Children aged nine to 11 from five feeder primary schools for Woodchurch High School took part in the competition to deter young people from anti-social behaviour and risk-taking activities.
The Year 5 and 6 children were asked to help raise awareness by designing a poster aimed at eight- to 16-year-olds considering the potential dangers of this time of year and incorporating messages into the poster to try and prevent crime and keep people safe during this period.
More than 150 children took part in the competition. Three winning posters were chosen and will be printed and displayed in shop windows and around the community in Woodchurch, Upton, and Overchurch in the run-up to Halloween.
Merseyside Police runs a force-wide operation called Operation Banger during the Halloween and Bonfire Night period to cover the increased call for demand.
Last year, the force received 141 reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage, which was a 48 per cent reduction and a fall for the second year running.
While there was a slight decrease in calls to police, emergency calls via 999 rose by 32 per cent.
PC Emily Scarratt from the Local Policing team that forms part of EVOLVE Wirral organised the competition and said, “While we saw a further drop in anti-social behaviour and criminal damage last year, we are keen to help educate young people about the consequences of anti-social behaviour for those on the receiving end as well as the dangers it presents for the perpetrators.
“As part of EVOLVE Wirral we are working more closely with the schools in our area to help build better relationships with young people and the police.
“I am working alongside all Year 5 children in these Woodchurch High feeder schools across the year with the hope to educate young people from an early age about the dangers of engaging in crime and to help prevent young people from joining gangs.
“The poster competition is one example of the work we are doing with schools and the three winners were really excited at the prospect of seeing their artwork displayed around the community.
“We hope young people who may be thinking about committing anti-social behaviour during this Operation Banger period see the posters and it contributes to them thinking twice.”
The winning posters were designed by Lily-Rose Neale from St Michael & All Angels Primary School, and Maggie-Mae Jones and Adam Beech from St Joseph’s Catholic School.
The other schools taking part included Overchurch Juniors, Fender Primary School and Woodchurch C of E Primary School.
As well as having their posters printed and displayed in the community the three winners also received Amazon vouchers funded by Merseyside Police’s Operation Stonehaven, which helps young people and aims to divert them away from crime and the risk of exploitation by criminal gangs.
Maggie-Mae scooped the top prize of £50, Lily-Rose won £40 and Adam won £30.
Merseyside Police is running a campaign called Silence is Not an Option to encourage people with information about gang-related crime and activity to contact Crimestoppers anonymously via Give information 100% anonymously about organised crime in Merseyside | Crimestoppers (crimestoppers-uk.org)
Lead image: Children at St Michaels who took part in the competition