Kids learn about cops

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Rockingham police Constable Chantelle Webster visits the children at Baldivis Primary School.
Camera IconRockingham police Constable Chantelle Webster visits the children at Baldivis Primary School. Credit: Supplied

A Rockingham police officer has been inspired to design a program for school students, aimed at preventing crime by providing education to the community’s youth.

Rockingham police Constable Chantelle Webster attends schools in a police car, equipped with a ballistic vest, a riot shield and some old clean police uniforms for the kids to dress up in.

Const Webster then speaks to the children about car and road safety, bike safety, how to handle emergencies, staying safe online, damage by fire, sexting, crime prevention, stealing and assaults.

She said the program was for primary and secondary students and she adapted it to suit the age group she was speaking with.

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“I try to get the students engaged in the topic I am talking about by asking lots of questions where they get an opportunity to dress up in police uniforms for answering the questions,” Const Webster said.

“At the end of the session the children get to ask me any questions they have about police or policing.

“I have visited most of the primary schools in the Baldivis area and I am now moving to schools throughout Rockingham district area.

“Schools I have booked in for the next month include three in Baldivis, one in Hillman, one in Cooloongup, three in Waikiki, one in Warnbro and two in Port Kennedy.”

Const Webster said she had been inspired to run a program such as this one ever since she was a school student herself.

“My inspiration for this program initially originated as a child at primary school when the community police officer came to my school,” she said.

“He was a really top bloke who was my first ever interaction with a police officer which was part of my inspiration to become a police officer myself.

“Many years later after becoming a police officer I was tasked to attend a primary school visit at the request of the school.

“During my visit I observed how much enjoyment the children received from my presence which immediately took me back to my experience at primary school.

“This one visit ignited a passion inside me to interact with as many children possible in a positive way in a space that they feel safe while providing them with education that could prevent them from becoming victims of crime.”

Const Webster said she hoped to continue to inspire children to be the best person they could be by being kind to each other and helping others when they could.

“I want children to develop trust in police and know if they ever need help they know they will be able to seek the help of police officers,” she said.

“Some of the children I visit and speak to have some traumatic experiences within the home environment where police have been called.

“My wish is to influence those children who associate police with that negative experience and give them a positive experience with a police officer to build on that trust.”

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