York-based Digital PCSO Chris Simpson has been working on a new project during the past few months to help improve police engagement with children and young people in his patch.
Chris’s idea – called ‘Cops vs Kids’ – is to use Esports to build positive bridges with the youngsters, as well as seeking support from their parents and guardians.
He has teamed up with British Esports Association (BEA) and City of York Council’s Youth Justice Service to launch the initiative throughout August.
It will run at the Moor Lane Youth Centre on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12noon and 2pm. All the places have now been filled.
The pilot covers a variety of sessions such as casual gaming, skills workshops, careers awareness and building a safe place for young people.
At the end there will be a ‘Cops vs Kids’ fun competitive gaming session, with the police playing on a team against young people in the area.
BEA is providing kit and guidance throughout the pilot and will produce a case study from the findings.
Chris said: “Esports can help break down barriers within our harder to reach communities where there is an inherent mistrust of the police, hopefully leading to a mutual respect.
“The event will also help to develop engagement opportunities with parents and guardians within local communities, both online and in the physical world.
“During the gaming sessions we will not only engage with young people, but also use it as a tool to help educate them around online safety, crime and anti-social behaviour.
“Ultimately, we want to show them that underneath the uniforms and despite the age differences, the police are human too. We share many similar interests, with gaming being a very popular common ground.”
Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education at City of York Council, said: “I’m pleased to welcome this activity for young people who are already working with our Youth Justice Service. It’s really important that officers who can help them are accessible and trusted. Having fun while gaming sounds a great way to build relationships while supporting the young people to make positive change in both their outlook and behaviour.”
Alice Leaman, the BEA’s Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer, said: “The pilot with North Yorkshire Police is a really exciting opportunity to understand how esports and gaming can help break barriers and engage all members of the community.”
- For more information about ‘Cops vs Kids Esports’ or to arrange an interview, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07741 175747.