As well as learning about the work of the local police force, the children got to sit in the driver’s seat of a big police van and try on various hats and headwear used by police officers. They even experienced what it was like to be in a cell and had their fingerprints taken.

The children, aged ten and eleven, were shown around by Community Support Officers Matt Hayhurst and Kerrie Giles who answered their many questions, giving an overview of the varied work undertaken by police officers. They discovered that it is not all crime investigation, traffic control and sorting out fights: there’s also a lot of work in the local community aimed at making people feel safer and more secure.

The children got to try on various hats and headwear used by police officers

The visit was organised by Variety Wessex committee member Peter Jenkins. The children arrived in the Sunshine Coach that was presented last year to Bethany School by Shan Seewooruthun and members of the Bournemouth Boys Club.

After the visit, the children drove to McDonalds at Mannings Heath for lunch where they tucked into burgers and fries.

Matthew Hayhurst, Police Community Support Officer said:

Kerrie and I enjoyed our morning showing the Bethany School Group round Poole Police Station. They were great kids, very enthusiastic and asked really good questions.

Frances Cornelius, chair of Variety Wessex, said:

Thank you Matt, Kerrie and all the staff at Poole Police Station for giving these children such an interesting morning. They really did have a fascinating time learning about your police work. You are very busy people and we so appreciate the time you have given them. A very big thank you to Peter Jenkins for organising this wonderful experience for our Bethany children. Also thank you McDonalds for looking after our group and providing a meal that all the children enjoyed.

Elisabeth Rawson-Jones, Pastoral Lead at Bethany CE Junior School, said:

What a wonderful time we have just had. Kerrie and Matt were great with the children from the moment we arrived. It was such a positive experience for our children, some even wanting to join when they are older. An incredible result when some of these children are exposed to negative attitudes to the police. For them to see things from the other side and have so much fun was invaluable. Thank you everyone involved and particularly Frances for enabling these children to have some amazing memories to look back on.

Story by: Hattie Miles, Variety Wessex Volunteer