A CAMPUS cop has told of the benefits for both sides in policing one of Irvine’s secondary schools – after individual officers were reinstated across the area’s academies.

Eight police officers are now embedded within secondary schools across North Ayrshire, with Police Scotland often getting asked ‘why?’.

The main role of the campus officer is to build positive relationships with the young people and to work with partner agencies including council bosses and charities to educate them to make the correct choices.

Campus Officers deliver presentations within PSE classes on a range of topics including Internet safety, Hate Crime and bullying.

They also work with the cluster primary schools when required, providing inputs and assisting pupils with the transition to secondary school.

PC Ferguson, who is based at Irvine Royal Academy, said: “Ultimately we are here to prevent children from gaining criminal convictions and instead use intervention processes to help educate them through use of restorative programs.

“We work closely with Pastoral Teams, school management, parents, carers and partner agencies throughout the year, but also help with emphasising national campaigns such as last week’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

“Partnership working is a significant component of my role. Only by working together can we provide an effective support mechanism for our young people.

“Active Schools and I started the ‘Walk & Talk’ during lockdown for children attending the hub as a means to support mental health and build relationships.

“I also support our pupils at local events within the community and get a sense of satisfaction in doing so. I chose to become a campus officer as I truly believe our young people deserve the best opportunities.

“Whilst working as a response officer I could see that relationship between young people and the police could sadly be negative due to misunderstandings on both sides.

“This role is a great

opportunity to alter perceptions and learn from one another.”

Information can be reported to Police Scotland by contacting 101 – in an emergency always dial 999.