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New ‘Cop Car’ project promotes a positive future for youngsters

15 January 2016
Children with a record of disruptive and anti-social behaviour, are being given a chance to build healthy relations within the local community, thanks to a Cop Car project which is being delivered at HMS Sultan

The Driving Futures, Hampshire Police Cop Car project is a 10 week challenge, which will see 11-16 year olds who face difficulties within the normal School system work as part of a team, in order to build a F24 Kit Car.

Bringing the students together with the Police, Royal Navy and the teaching and support staff from the Key Education Centre in Gosport, the project offers youngsters who are currently unable to attend regular schools, the chance to grow in confidence, learn many new skills and to engage with the Police in a positive manner.

The project is part of a new initiative which has been rolled out across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight after a successful pilot of the scheme at Eastleigh Police Station.

We wanted to show the children that if they worked really hard, there is a whole world of practical ‘hands on’ engineering out there which is open to them.

Police Community Support Officer, Deana West

It is one of many projects that are being funded throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by the Police and Crime Commissioner as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour Project.

Police Community Support Officer, Deana West, recently joined Gosport Police Station’s team and has been encouraged by the initial impact of the Project.

She said: “This is the first time that the station has done this so it’s new to new to us, and we thought that HMS Sultan, with its links to engineering, would make be the perfect place to do it.

“Since our initial enquiry everyone at Sultan has been so positive about the project, getting actively involved, which has been really good for us.”

“Since the project began we have seen a reduced amount of disruptive behaviour from the children while they’re out in the community

“Building positive relationships with them is something we are really keen to do.

“We want to show them that we’re not all bad, we’re just ordinary people and hopefully by the end of the project they will understand that.”

“With only a few years left of school it gives them something positive to focus on and the engineering that goes on at Sultan was key to us wanting to come here, we wanted to show the children that if they worked really hard, there is a whole world of practical ‘hands on’ engineering out there which is open to them.”

The project also requires students to make up a diary and portfolio to record the progress made throughout the activity.

Shannon Woods who is a Teaching Assistant at the Key Education Centre said: “Some of the Children involved just can’t be in school at the moment because of various difficulties, however, bringing them along to this is getting them engaged in a project and they love it, it’s having a big impact on them.”

“A lot of our kids, if you asked them to sit down and write a story would just point blank refuse, but were finding that getting them to work on the practical task and make pictorial evidence, is encouraging them to talk about and that they are also happy to write something.”

Another reason why the Project is proving to be so successful is that after completing the build of the car, youngsters will be able to take it to Goodwood Motor Circuit, to compete in a days racing against other teams from across Hampshire Constabulary on the 21st February.

14 year old James Colborn, was amongst the group from Gosport taking part and was very excited about the Project overall, he said; “When I found out about the Car I was quite excited as this is the first time I have ever done anything like this.

“I’ve not been on a Royal Navy base before and I was little bit nervous about meeting lots of people I didn’t know, but they have been really nice and helpful.”

“There has been a lot of learning from scratch, but they have been really good at explaining stuff and so I’ve got it all quite quick.

“I thought it was going to be quite difficult but from the look of it all it looks as if it will all be done. I think engineering is amazing, it’s been really good.”

“I think it’s going to be amazing racing against a lot of other teams, it’s going to be really exciting and hopefully we can win.”

Simon Hayes, Police and Crime Commissioner commented: “I am pleased to see how successful this project is. 

“Young people who get involved are working together as a team, learning new skills, and building their confidence. As a result they are distracted from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and crime, and are building a positive future.”

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