Merseyside’s ‘Mini Police’ will be on patrol today alongside the region’s Police Commissioner, officers from the Force’s road policing team and a team of firefighters as part of a campaign to make Merseyside’s roads safer.
The event, which is being held to mark Brake’s Road Safety Week, will see youngsters, from Hatton Hill Primary School in Litherland, handing out their own road safety leaflets and talking to road users in Williamson Square in Liverpool City Centre, as part of a multi-agency initiative to encourage everyone to take more care when using the region’s roads.
The Year 5 and 6 children, who will be wearing their Mini Police uniforms, will be giving out their road safety messages alongside a Merseyside Fire and Rescue (MF&RS) ‘crash car’ which is used to highlight the potential dangers and consequences of dangerous driving.
In preparation for the day, the Mini Police officers were asked to research and produce their own leaflets warning drivers about the main factors which cause death and serious injuries on our roads or the ‘fatal four’ – speed, drinking and drugs, mobile phones and seatbelts. Their final designs will be handed out alongside road safety advice and leaflets covering a whole range of issues, including motorcycle safety, older road users and pedestrians.
A Merseyside Fire and Rescue fire engine and a Merseyside Police motorbike will also be on display, with officers from the Force’s roads policing unit and firefighters from MF&RS on hand to get people talking about their driving behaviour and answer any questions. Road safety representatives from Liverpool, Wirral and Sefton Council will also be supporting the campaign.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy, who arranged the awareness-raising event, said: “During Road Safety Awareness Week it is important to talk to people about making the roads of Merseyside safer for everyone. With the help of our Mini-Police we will be able to remind car drivers and other road users to think ‘safety’ all the time.
“Children use the roads every day. They can be very vulnerable when accidents happen and that’s why I hope people will really stop and listen and think about their driving behaviour after talking to the Mini Police.
“Merseyside Police are committed to reducing the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on the roads. An important part of this is educating people about the dangers of not paying attention when using our roads. We will also be urging people to ’Make the Brake Pledge’ and commit to being ‘slow, sober, secure, silent, sharp and sustainable’ when out on our roads this Road Safety Week.”
National road safety charity Brake’s annual Road Safety Week got underway yesterday, launching on Merseyside with a ‘kids’ court’ event at Avalon School in West Kirby, and events will run throughout the week.
Chief Inspector Tony Jones from Merseyside Police Roads policing unit said: “Merseyside Police are committed to improving the safety of our roads and reducing the numbers of people killed and seriously injured each year.
“This campaign is aimed at raising driver awareness of the potential consequences of poor driving not only on them but also on other road users.
“We have seen the significant sentences that have been passed recently on drivers whose standards drop even momentarily. Road safety week will hopefully make people think about their driving and reduce those that are effected by the sometimes devastating effects of poor driving.”
The Mini Police scheme was developed by Durham Constabulary in 2011 and was brought to Merseyside in September when youngsters from Hatton Hill Primary School in Litherland and St Monica’s Primary School in Bootle became the Force’s first Mini officers.
As part of this fun and interactive volunteering programme, the children will learn about the police service and be given a number of opportunities to develop and make the communities in which they live stronger and safer.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service attend road traffic collisions regularly, many of which are so serious that casualties have to be cut out of the vehicle.
“Many of the incidents we attend are entirely avoidable and are caused by people being distracted or not adjusting their driving in response to changing weather conditions. We have brought our crash vehicle here today to show people the process of casualty removal and hopefully give them some pause for thought.
“We would urge drivers to ensure that their vehicle’s tyres, wipers, lights, water and oil levels are all as they should be particularly at this time of year, with longer nights and poor weather, adjust your driving to give yourself more time to brake, slow down and always be aware of other road users and pedestrians.
“Mobile phones should not be used, whether that is for calls or social media. Either get a hands free kit or put it away, nothing is important enough to put yours or other people’s lives at risk.’