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Renfrewshire School Pupils ‘Trial’ Criminal Justice Project

Pupils from a Renfrewshire primary school have been getting familiar with the long arm of the law thanks to an educational criminal justice project.

The ‘Bringing Learning to Life’ event saw the P6 pupils from Brediland Primary School, in Paisley, work with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), Strathclyde Police and the Scottish Court Service to learn all about the justice system.

The first part of the event took place at the school itself with a crime being acted out in front of the school, police being called and pupils having to give witness statements with the help of officers and staff from the Procurator Fiscal’s Service.

Criminal Justice partners then explained to pupils about the different roles of the Crown, the Defence, the Sheriff and the Jury, after which they were split into groups and each assigned one of these roles themselves.

Each group then had to analyse the case and their own roles within it, before having to take part in a mock trial at Paisley Sheriff Court based on the ‘crime’ they had witnessed earlier. The trial was presided over by a real Sheriff and Sheriff Clerk, with members of the Procurators Fiscal’s Service leading both the defence and prosecution with the help of pupils acting as junior counsel.

District Procurator Fiscal at Paisley, Kenny Donnelly, said: “Once again, we are delighted to be taking part in this project, which is aimed at teaching young people about the criminal justice system.
“The role-play exercises they undertake really do engage their analytical, observation, team-building and communication skills.
“It is always a pleasure to see how much the children enjoy the day, and perhaps some of them may be inspired to work in the criminal justice system themselves in the future.”

The aim of the project was to give young people an understanding of the different roles of the criminal justice partners and develop their analytical, observational, team-building and communication skills.
Inspector Joe Thomson, Safer Communities, Paisley Police Office, said: “It’s a great opportunity for the police to engage with these young people and provide them with an insight into the criminal justice system. This project is very much hands on and allows the young people to gain an understanding of the role that the police have when dealing with acts of criminality. The young participants are shown how to take statements, carry out enquiries and report offenders to our colleagues at the Crown Office. This exciting day was planned to ensure that the pupils have fun whilst learning important life skills.”
The project was run as part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Marie Claire Temple, head teacher of Brediland Primary, said: “In collaboration with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), we have organised a very exciting mini project for Primary six, entitled Bringing Learning to Life. The project has been planned in line with Curriculum for Excellence; the aim of the project is to provide opportunities for our children to learn through a variety of experiences, within contexts, out with the confines of the school or classroom.  It is through this kind of excellent partnership work that we are able to provide our pupils with high quality learning experiences, designed to equip our children with essential sustainable skills for life and work.”