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Canteen Cops put citizenship on the menu for Buckie High kids

By Alan Beresford

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POLICE in Buckie have been reaching out to local young people thanks to an innovative scheme based at Buckie Community High School.

Buckie Community Officer PC Rachel Barclay pops in to the BCHS canteen for a chat with students. Picture: Police Scotland
Buckie Community Officer PC Rachel Barclay pops in to the BCHS canteen for a chat with students. Picture: Police Scotland

The summer term saw the Canteen Cops initiative trialled at the school, with Buckie Community Officer PC Rachel Barclay and School Liaison Officer PC Rory Fraser popping in at lunchtime to talk to students about a range of issues.

PC Barclay said: "Following on from the anti-social behaviour and underage drinking within Buckie at weekends, we've been popping in to the school canteen at lunchtime and making ourselves available to answer questions and have a chat with pupils.

"The idea is to engage with youths to find out what they feel are the issues in the area, what we can do to solve it and why there are so many issues at the weekend with regards to underage drinking.

"It's far better to build up a rapport rather than have to criminalise behaviour. However, having said that, if issues persist we can escalate it.

"Further dedicated patrols will be carried out over the coming weekends.

"However, we have no issues with children hanging out together providing they are sticking to Covid guidelines, not making too much noise and clean up after themselves."

PC Barclay added that the Canteen Cops sessions finished along with the school term on Friday, June 24 but that she and PC Fraser were looking to do hold more after the summer holidays.

The scheme was also welcomed by BCHS rector Neil Johnson, who said the scheme would help young people understand what it means to be a good citizen.

He commented: "I was delighted when PC Barclay contacted me about Canteen Cops.

"Young people have had a lot of negative press over recent times – much of it around things that happen at evenings and weekends. Although usually involving a very small minority the reputation of all young people can get affected by this.

"By getting to know the youngsters in and around school, the police are far more likely to be able to get across their message about caring for the wider community and what it means to be a good citizen."

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