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Mini Police, mighty message: Drive safely outside our school

Today (22nd January), sees the launch of a new Mini Police road safety initiative. The local initiative, led by Cumbria Police’s, Citizen’s in Policing (CIP) team, will provide uniquely designed road safety signs for Cumbria Mini Police schools to use in their road safety awareness campaigns.

The CIP team, in collaborating with Mini Police schools and Signs Direct have been working on the project, the first of its kind in the UK, for a number of months, to make sure the signs were fun, eye catching, representative and informative. This project has been financially supported by the Casualty Reduction and Safer Highways (CRASH) multi-agency group.

The need for road safety signs was identified by a number of Mini Police schools, and PCSOs from around the county who witnessed antisocial driving and parking outside of their schools on a regular basis.

The signs will be used outside of Mini Police schools and in their community to promote key parts of the Highway Code, hazard awareness and general road safety.

Sergeant, Tamara Tatton, Lead for Citizen’s in Policing said: “Since we launched the Mini Police in March 2018, many of our schools have taken part in road safety initiatives such as speed watch, but this term they will receive lessons specifically on road safety. The signs will be a fantastic addition to the practical side of their learning and will support them in getting the message across that it isn’t ok to drive or park anti-socially outside a school.

“We have heard from lots of Mini Police schools that their Mini Police officers aren’t happy with the way people are driving or parking by schools. Following the feedback, we knew we had to support them in doing something about it – they are so passionate and enthusiastic about the issue. These signs are really going to catch people’s eyes and I hope they make drivers think twice about their driving habits and actions on the roads. One thoughtless move can negatively change many people’s lives.

“The signs will be a real point of engagement for the schools too, our PCSOs will deliver road safety lessons and Mini Police officers will plan where the signs are going to go and when. They will also speak to people outside their schools about anti-social road use and the affects it has on the school.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said: “The new Mini Police signs are an excellent way of refreshing everyone’s memory as to why we must never forget safety on any roads in Cumbria, especially those around schools.

“Whilst I understand that some parents want to drive and pick up their children as close to the school gates as possible, anti-social parking and erratic driving is selfish and has the potential to be dangerous.

“We also need to be aware that at these times, there are many young pedestrians and new cyclists using the roads and pavements, so extra care and attention is needed when driving and parking around schools, not less.

“Encouraging people to slow down, give themselves more time to react and spot danger, be more aware of cyclists and use extra caution before pulling out or into spaces is great advice. These new signs are eye-catching and will act as a reminder to drivers that safety should be their priority and stop being selfish.”

Cumbria Road Safety Partnership (CRSP) Co-ordinator Chris Broadbent said: “This is a great way to get young children not only thinking about road safety from a young age but also to help improve the safety of roads in their own community.”

Carol McDonald, supplier of school road safety signs at Signs Direct and Signs 2 Schools said:

“It’s been a great pleasure working with Tamara and the Citizen’s in Policing Team to create these specially designed signs. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Mini Police ‘Parking Buddies’, working together with the fantastic Mini Police teams, in Cumbria and in schools all over the UK. Together, the Mini Police and the ‘Mini Police Buddies’ are on a mission to help keep children safe by encouraging drivers to slow down and park safely, when they do the school run.”

You will see Cumbria Mini Police’s bespoke safety signs, featuring slogans such as, ‘don’t park here’, ‘watch your speed’ and ‘show you care, park elsewhere’ around the county at various times during the year.

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