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Competition to design School Watch sign 1 September 2007

PRIMARY school pupils in the east of the Island are joining forces to design a sign to go up in new School Watch areas.

The Department of Education is a member of the Eastern Neighbourhood Partnership, a community problem-tackling forum led by the Isle of Man Constabulary.

The Eastern Neighbourhood Policing Team is set to introduce School Watch areas. Similar to Neighbourhood Watch, the scheme encourages the public to report suspicious activity at and near schools to deter stranger danger, poor driving and parking, vandalism and other problems.

Year 5 and 6 pupils from the 11 schools in the Eastern Neighbourhood area have been invited to take part in a competition to design the sign that will indicate where School Watch areas are designated.

Their entries can be hand-drawn or computer-generated and must be in by Friday, October 26.

Education Minister Anne Craine MHK and the head of the Eastern Neighbourhood Policing Team, Inspector Sid Caine, will then select a winner from each school and those pupils will meet to pick the overall winner themselves. It is hoped successful pupils will take part in the public launch of the School Watch scheme.

Eastern Neighbourhood officer Constable Tony Lawler said:

‘Under the banner of School Watch, residents and students will be able to work together to help prevent any issues of anti-social behaviour taking hold. It is all about local schools, children, residents and the police working together to maintain and improve our community’s quality of life.’

He added:

‘Our aim is to forge a stronger link between the students and residents of the areas in which primary schools are located through the introduction of the School Watch scheme.’

Mrs Craine commented:

‘I think it is important for young children to develop a sense of citizenship within the community by giving them the knowledge that they have a share in the ownership of that community. Through this competition, we are asking children to become involved in caring for the area in which they live and go to school. Children have a very strong sense of justice and feel personally injured when damage is caused to their school or area. I hope we can empower them to know that they can play a part in preventing anti-social behaviour in our communities.’

The competition is being sponsored by Onchan computer company Big Fish, whose Sales and Marketing Director, Deborah Gwinnell, said:

‘Big Fish is a supplier to both the Police and to the schools on the Island and we are very pleased to have been asked to help with this worthwhile initiative. We wish all involved the very best of luck.’

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