Harris Academy hosted Taskforce officers in conjunction with North Area police and Hope In TottenhamThe five officers, who were at Harris for the first time, said that both staff and pupils were “fantastic” and that the visit was a great opportunity to get youngsters to rethink their opinions of police officers through face to face positive interaction while also giving officers a chance to hear what is concerning the youngsters in their community.

One student with a truncheon hits a police shield held by another student.

Students were given a chance to test the durability of the riot shields with their own makeshift experiments.

This was echoed by head Dr Lawrence Foley who told Hope In Tottenham that the sessions are a really novel idea and that his students had obviously loved it. He added, “Often they are seeing negative images of the police on TV and social media – today represents a valuable chance to see firstly what policing is actually like as a job and secondly to understand that the police are human beings”.

A teenager tries on Police riot gear but it is oversized.

The visit was the perfect opportunity for students to try on the gear themselves.

Some of the Y7-10 students were chosen because they aspire to become police officers but others were nominated to take part as they have a less favourable view of the Met. As with all the previous engagements the pupils are let loose on the equipment after a short presentation with dressing up in the hazmat suits a perennial favourite along with using the carrier’s tannoy system to issue commands!

Hope In Tottenham spoke to two Harris students about the session afterwards. One told us that the police can get a bad reputation in Tottenham but “they are just doing their job”. This student had been particularly interested to hear how public order is policed and found the visit very informative. Another student said that the visit was “just lots of fun” although he was disappointed that the officers had declined his offer of a running race around the playground!

One of the officers taking part PC Abdalla commented that “in general our first intervention with youngsters can be on the street so if the first meeting can be in school like this it is better for everyone as it is a neutral space”.

At the end of the session, students were able to ask officers questions and an interesting discussion ensued between students and police on the role of social media, how police monitor it for criminal activity and specifically whether drill tracks should be admissable in court as evidence.

Hope In Tottenham sincerely thanks the Territorial Support Group officers for making another trip to Tottenham, the pupils from Harris Academy for being a great group and Executive Principal Dr Lawrence Foley for supervising the visit.

  • -Christina Davis, Police Engagement Manager