Police in the scrum with primary school pupils

Tag rugby sessions proving a big hit with youngsters

A SOUTH Molton PCSO is getting more than just his hands dirty in a bid to tackle young people’s perceptions of the police.

Since September, PCSO Jerzy Rozputynski has been running weekly tag rugby sessions with primary school pupils at Chulmleigh, Rackenford and Witheridge in a bid to break down barriers with youngsters.

The after-school sessions have proved to be a big hit with pupils – so much so that the initiative is being rolled out to other schools in the New Year.

“They love it; their teachers tell me they can’t wait to play” said PCSO Rozputynski.

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“Through sport, we can interact with the community on a child’s level; it’s a great way to give police a presence in schools and break down barriers with young people.

“Normally when we go into schools, we can only spend around half-an-hour with pupils talking about a particular subject or issue but this is a great way of getting to know the pupils and engaging with them in a fun way.

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“The sessions have become really beneficial – much more than I thought they would be when I first started.”

Tag rugby is a non-contact form of the sport that can be played with all ages, all sexes and all abilities, added PCSO Rozputynski.

“The game helps to inspire youngsters and also helps to introduce the idea of restorative justice. The justice on a rugby pitch mirrors the justice on the street and anti-social behaviour on the field of play is dealt with in a similar way.”

Burrington and Filleigh could be among the schools to take up the sessions from next month.

“It was quite nerve-wracking for pupils to start with but now they’re used to me,” added PCSO Rozputynski.

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