A JOINT project involving Swindon’s Youth Offending Team and a group of pupils from Holy Family Catholic Primary School has been given special mention by the Home Office at the annual Youth Justice Conference.

The town’s Youth Offending Team received a citation at the conference in Birmingham.

They finished runners-up in the Youth Justice Innovation Award category after Year Six children from Holy Family delivered crime prevention messages to pupils in other schools in Swindon.

The pupils who volunteered planned the content and delivery of the lessons in consultation with the Youth Offending Team.

The lessons have proved both popular and effective because they are delivered by pupils themselves using different scenarios for other pupils to act out in class.

There are now plans to roll the pilot project out to even more schools.

Coun David Renard, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted by the award, which recognises the positive impact of an innovative project delivering crime prevention messages in schools.

“Its impact on the confidence, knowledge and understanding of the young volunteers has been considerable.

“The reaction of pupils has also been significant, as they were quickly engaged and excited to be part of a lesson being delivered by other young people who have volunteered their time and energy.”

Receiving the award on behalf of the project, Police Constable Tim Steed said: “We teach pupils the entire path of criminality, including all sanctions available to the Police.

“We even take them into the custody block – then slam the door so that they get that resonance in their ear of how bad it can actually be when you’re in a cell.

“To date we have delivered the project to hundreds of school children within Swindon.

“We now have a new cohort of Year Six and Year Seven pupils who are going to be delivering lessons to Year 10s and Year 11s. So, on behalf of them, thank you very much.”