On Monday, Merseyside Police hosted a prize-giving event rewarding Sefton schoolchildren who were involved in an anti-scrambler bike education project during the Autumn term of 2018. Watch what happened:
Now in its fourth year, the project was set up by Constable Alan Thompson from Bootle Neighbourhood team, with help from Sefton Council, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and aims to highlight the impact off-road bikes have on local communities in Sefton.
The four schools involved are:
St Oswalds Primary School, Netherton
The Grange Primary School, Bootle
Hatton Hill Primary School, Bootle
Lander Road Primary School, Litherland
Early in 2018, Year 5 pupils at the schools received education on the dangers of off-road bikes and impact they cause in their communities. Assemblies have been given to each of the primary schools from Merseyside Police, Sefton Council Anti-Social Behaviour Unit and Alder Hey Hospital. Once the pupils returned to school to begin their Year 6 studies, they each designed and filmed a 90-second video. They also took part in activities including an activity day at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre and the re-enactment of a crash involving a scrambler bike at Croxteth Community Fire Station.
The 16 winners of the video competition were presented their certificates by Rachel Brown-Finnis, BT Sports analyst and former Liverpool, Everton and England goalkeeper and Ian Snodin, broadcaster, pundit and former Everton midfielder, before the grand unveiling of the top-secret children’s prize, a ski trip to Scotland. Their videos will also be used in a publicity campaign in the Sefton area.
Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley said: “This brilliant scheme has been running for four years and represents the very best in partnership work which takes place across Sefton and the force. The children have worked hard and had some fun along the way, and the lesson they have learnt will be passed on to their friends, families and communities.
“It is so important that future generations understand why off-road bikes are so dangerous, to road users, the environment and the riders themselves. We recognise the impact that the anti-social and criminal use of bikes has on residents of these and other areas.
“Reports of such incidents have decreased across Merseyside in the last year and whilst this is encouraging, we all aspire to living and working in a county free of this issue.
“Officers across the force and partners act on information from our communities every day, to seize bikes and bring to justice those who use them. Keep providing information, and we will continue to tackle this problem.”
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Four consecutive years of schoolchildren in Sefton have benefitted from this great local initiative.
“We know that nuisance bikes are a major concern for our communities. They are a nuisance in our neighbourhoods and a danger to all other road users – young and old alike. That is why the Force are working hard to engage with young people from an early age to help steer them away from getting involved with the anti-social and illegal use of bikes.
“It is great to see the enthusiasm, energy and effort the pupils bring to this project. The videos produced by the young people send out a clear message about the harm these bikes can cause. I congratulate the winners and all the young people who have taken part, as well as the officers and staff who have delivered this fantastic campaign again."
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: "We are constantly amazed at our fabulous Sefton school pupils who have worked so hard on this project
"We know scrambler bikes are a blight on our communities and through this initiative we want to make sure important messages about the risks and dangers of using them are learnt.
"It is also another great example of partnership working and engaging with our communities to make Sefton a safer place for everyone."
Steve Pang, Station Manager and MRFS lead on road safety, said: “We work closely with our partners in Merseyside Police and local authorities to help educate about the dangers of off-road bikes and the life changing consequences they can cause. We held at event at our Training & Development Academy in Croxteth last year to give primary school pupils a first-hand look into this and as well as giving them a thoroughly enjoyable day out of the classroom, it also gave them something to think about and take away to share with their friends and family.”