Mini police officers on patrol at Plymouth care home

  • Watch Claire Manning's report

A group of pint-sized police officers from Plymouth have been "on the beat" at their local care home.

The Mini Police officers have been getting to know residents at Bethany Christian Home while taking part in activities like jigsaws, colouring and reading and generally building community.

Many children say they want to be a police officer when they grow up but pupils from Holy Cross Primary School in Plymouth have actually been getting a taster of just what is involved.

They are issued with their own uniform as they take on topics like crime prevention, internet safety, road safety and community action.

Building community - two Mini Police officers working with a resident at Bethany Christian Home. Credit: ITV West Country

It is all part of a national police programme for young people, which has been adapted by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Plymouth's seven-week long Mini Police programme has been running since January 2020. It works with eight to ten-year-olds with the aim of increasing trust and confidence as well as tackling issues like anti-social behaviour.

Mini Police officer Laith has a unique way of explaining what is involved.

The Holy Cross pupil said: "We get to help others and put others before us - we're not like... So like, if someone's in danger we don't just look at them and go, 'Yes, it's his problem not ours' like - we go and help."

The youngsters are guided by officers from Devon and Cornwall Police in what it is to be a good citizen.

PC Deb Hart, Plymouth police's Young Engagement Officer said: "They are very proud to wear the uniform, they have extra responsibilities at school and one of the things that they do for their social action day is to go outside into their uniforms and today they've chosen to do the care home visit."

Since the scheme began, the children have been involved in a variety of activities. In March 2023, mini police officers from Plymouth helped to plant wildflower seeds in Keyham Park with the aim of creating a community meadow.

Amelie Slade, a Mini Police officer from Bideford, on speedwatch duty. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

In February, the Mini Police officers' young counterparts in Bideford had the chance to join officers on a speed watch campaign.

In two hours at a 30 mph limit near their school they clocked 16 motorists driving more than 33 mph with one speeding at 43 mph.

The Mini Police programme is designed to improve relations between young people and police but, for the Holy Cross pupils, their time at Bethany Christian Home also built friendships.

Pat Fish, one of the residents at the care home said, "I think what a contrast it must be for these young people to meet the very elderly people, the other side of the spectrum so to speak, but they communicate beautifully and they are easy to talk to."