A police initiative to promote awareness of pupil safety is being rolled out to schools in Northumberland.
Operation Tinsel started last week in North Tyneside and sees neighbourhood officers visit schools to raise awareness of personal safety and crime prevention.
Police are paying visits to schools and speaking with staff and pupils at assemblies, in crime-prevention classes and also using social media to give advice. Extra patrols will be taking place in and around schools at key times too.
Officers are covering a wide range of issues which can affect youngsters from road safety, how to stay safe online, stranger danger, personal safety and crime-prevention advice.
Superintendent Mick Paterson said: “This initiative has been well received in our North Tyneside schools and we decided to take the opportunity for our neighbourhood officers across Northumberland to come into schools to speak to young people of all ages about these important subjects.”
He added: “Personal safety is so important for young people, but especially so at this time of the year. When they go to school it is dark and often when they finish it’s getting dark so they need to take steps to make themselves as safe as possible.
“Simple things like walking home in groups of friends or in pairs, and not alone, taking extra care when crossing the road, especially when dark, and making sure their valuables including phones, tablets and mp3 players are safe and not easy targets for thieves – they can all make a difference.
“One of the key messages we want to get across is that the police are here to support and help them. Children should always ring 999 if they feel threatened or unsafe in any situation – if they see someone suspicious or are approached by anyone they don’t know then they should ring 999 immediately and we will protect them.
“We will do all we can in school hours to get pupils thinking about safety but we need parents at home to reinforce these messages and make sure their child is as safe as possible. I’d urge parents to speak to their children about issues like personal safety, what to do in an emergency and how to contact the police to make sure the message hits home.”