Local Community Police officers from Johnstone Police Office have held a football tournament for primary school kids on Friday 29th September 2017 at the ONYX sport centre in Linwood.
The idea for the event came from the local Community Police Officers for the Linwood area, Constable Brian Dick and Constable Martin Norwood. Both officers having recently taken up post within the new local policing model where keen to establish themselves within the local schools and get to know the children better, so the idea for a local football tournament was born.
The officers approached Bridge of Weir, Houston, Woodlands, St Fillans and Our Lady of Peace Primary Schools, who were happy to support the initiative.
Constable’s Dick and Norwood commented “It’s important to us to be seen in and around our local schools and get to know the local children and the teaching staff, so we thought of no better way than to organise a local football tournament.
“This gave us a chance to chat and engage with the children in an informal setting and to build some positive relationships from an early age. This makes our job much easier when speaking to the children at a later date when we already know them, so initiatives like this one really help.”
The officers sought support from local business and were amazed with the positive response. Tesco in Linwood provided food and drinks for the children, The ONYX provided the venue, ‘Sign Art’ the banner and Terry Feeney from Spar in Linwood and Linstone Housing provided funding to pay for medals and a trophy for those taking part.
To make things even better for the children, St Mirren players Stephen McGinn and Stelios Demetriou came along and presented the prizes to the players.
Scottish Ambulance also attended to assist and provide pitside support.
Chief Inspector Simon Wright, the local policing Area Commander, said: “This is a fantastic initiative by my Linwood Community Policing Officers who recognise the importance of building relationships with the children living within Linwood and surrounding areas.
“Police officers have an important role within the community, not only to tackle crime, but to also act as positive role models for those who may be young and vulnerable, so initiatives like this one are so important.
“I have seen first hand today how the children have responded to the officers during the matches and those relationships will continue to grow positively, as the kids enter into secondary school.
This is the first initiative of its kind locally for some time, but given its success, we hope to continue to seek innovative ways to build effective and positive relationships with the communities we serve.”