Junior officers get their official badges

Tayside Police will officially bestow the badge of office upon more than 300 enthusiastic primary school pupils when they officially enlist this year’s Junior Road Safety Officers.

The national Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSO) scheme, which was introduced into Tayside 2004, has gone from strength to strength in the intervening years. In addition to the roll call of children, there are 150 adult co-ordinators taking part in the 2010 /2011 initiative.

Those JRSOs who carried out this important role last academic year, assisted in various local road safety initiatives, including parking around schools, updating school travel plans, encouraging pupils to walk to school. Some even wrote to local authority education and roads departments with various road safety suggestions, some of which have since been implemented.

Plans put in place by Road Safety Scotland last year also mean that JRSOs from across Tayside are able to share their valuable work with pupils from other Scottish schools, by posting photos, notices and information on the JRSO website.

The JRSO scheme, along with all the Road Safety Scotland resources used in Tayside Schools, are free of charge and fit into the Curriculum for Excellence through Health and Wellbeing, Literacy and English, Numeracy and Mathematics Expressive Arts, Social Studies, Design, Drama and Physical Activity.

The scheme also incorporates Information Technology and Communications, encourages peer education and promotes partnership working with pupils, parents, teachers, Road Safety Officers and Travel Plan Co-ordinators.

JRSOs receive support from local Road Safety Officers and adult co-ordinators to plan assemblies, design notice boards and undertake other road safety related activities throughout their year in office.

On the induction day the new JRSOs will receive their badge of office and resources to assist them in their role. They are also invited to participate in a competition, the winners of which receive road safety related prizes.

The theme of the induction day this year will be “Be Safe Be Seen” with an on-the-day competition asking the new JRSOs to design a slogan to encourage people of all ages to think about being seen when they are on or near roads.

Marian Scott, Tayside Police Road Safety Co-ordinator said: “We are greatly encouraged that road safety is placed very high on the agenda of every school in Tayside. With over 300 JRSOs trained in 2010 we are delighted with the support from local schools for the National scheme.

“The majority of primary schools in Perth and Kinross, Angus and Dundee, are benefiting from having pupils who are confident in playing a key role in increasing road safety awareness of fellow pupils and the local community. We are certain that road safety awareness will be heightened further still through this year’s representatives.

Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, Head of Road Policing said: “The scheme offers a platform for children to voice their opinions to adults about what they feel their priorities are in terms of road safety education, as opposed to the adults telling the children what they need.

“In the last year or so, JRSOs have managed to influence councils through requesting footpaths and signs to ensure fellow pupils are able to walk to and from school more safely.

“They have assisted in resolutions to alleviate the parking at the school gate issue which, although never seems to disappear, is magnificent in showing that they take their role seriously and is another example of how influential children can be.

“By encouraging greater interest in road safety, this scheme will help primary school children to use roads in a safer way.

“ I believe the scheme will help to keep children safe as they progress through secondary school and into adult life. Furthermore, this education will ultimately assist Tayside Police meet the Scottish Government casualty reduction targets.”