Year 9 students at Coseley School have been first in the West Midlands to take up the LionHeart Challenge to create a concept that will protect people from becoming victims of youth violence.
The project, financed by an award from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) fund, brought young people and police officers together to find constructive ways of reducing crime and youth related violence.
Commissioner David Jamieson said: “Engaging young people in crime reduction projects is about empowering them to build the communities of their future. Projects that bring young people into contact with police to work together constructively, have a great way of breaking down barriers and improving relationships. The LionHeart Challenge has already seen successes working with young people elsewhere in the country, and is the reason why I decided to allocate POCA funding for it to be brought to this area. It has demonstrated that it has a cost-effective impact on improving community safety and I am keen to support the benefits this pilot project will bring to the West Midlands.
Superintendent Keith Fraser, who applied for the POCA funding for the project said: “This approach is a first for West Midlands Police and I see as an exciting opportunity to work with LionHeart Challenge and schools across four areas in the West Midlands – Sandwell, Solihull, Dudley and Wolverhampton. The aim is to increase the trust and confidence that the young people, who take part in the events, have in the police. It creates an opportunity for police to liaise with a large group of young people, so that everybody can get a much better understanding of each other’s point of view. Young people get to talk in a relaxed and informal way to police about problems in their local area and tell them what they think could be done to improve the situation. This is potentially a win-win situation; in helping to prevent youth violence; providing excellent engagement opportunity between young people and the police and supporting educational needs.”
Clare McDonald from The LionHeart Challenge said: “Our Team has delivered similar events around the country and the young people respond very positively. It allows young people to talk with police officers on an equal footing, and they find it very empowering to be listened to and able to make contributions. Sometimes is can be enlightening for the police officers, who find out that the majority of young people share a common aim of wanting everybody in the community, whether young or old, to feel confident and safe.”
Richard Morley, Assistant Headteacher from The Coseley School said. “To be the launch school for the LionHeart Challenge in the West Midlands is a great honour and privilege. Through the sponsorship of the West Midlands Police force our young people have realised that life is a team effort and no one gets very far alone. This opportunity was invaluable in ensuring engagement and empowerment of our students with regards to reducing potential crime in the local community.”
Note to editors: More pictures from the event can be viewed hereBack to News Archive