October 11th saw Hope In Tottenham along with North Area Schools Officer, Charles Stephenson welcome the Taskforce back to the borough during an engagement visit to Wood Green’s Commerce House students. 

  • By Christina Davis, Police Engagement Manager

The school, which helps pupils return to mainstream education and is headed up by Gerry Robinson, had not had an outreach session with the TSG before, but judging from the reaction from pupils and staff it certainly won’t be the last.

For PC Hunter, one of a handful of officers who came to the centre; it was his first experience of community engagement with the Taskforce. He said that it was at this kind of session that officers get to teach people about aspects of policing they might not always see. “My main aim here would be to always let the youngsters know that if they need anything we are always here to help them” he noted.

Commerce House Students were given a demonstration on safety equipment TSG officers use

During the hour-long visit all students and staff were encouraged to ask questions, try on equipment, sit in the driving seat of the van and use the lights and sirens. And a lot of the staff took the opportunity too!

Commerce House History teacher,  Mr Johnson, told Hope In Tottenham that he thought the visit was very beneficial for the students. “It’s definitely a real opportunity for them to effectively communicate with officers and crucially to see policing as a profession,” he said.

The youngsters learnt about the Taskforce’s responsibilities around nuclear and chemical attacks, trying on gasmasks. They were also able to put on all the other protective gear used by the officers and test the weight of the battering ram that can be used to gain entry.

The officer attached to the school PC Stephenson, who is also a Met Boxer, commented that these sorts of visits can only make his job easier. “It builds up faith between people and rebuilds that trust, it’s great,” he noted.

For pupils, the favourite bits of the visit ranged from “sitting in the driving seat of the van” to “learning about the equipment” while others said that they were now more aware of the police’s job.

Hope in Tottenham would like to thank the pupils and staff of Commerce House and the Territorial Support Group Officers for making this visit possible.