Pioneering youth volunteers from Police Scotland have been recognised by HRH The Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay.
The 24 young people from Ayrshire took part in a volunteering pilot programme at Dumfries House, Cumnock.
The volunteers, who came from two school communities from Cumnock and Auchinleck Academies, signed up for the programme in March this year.
They participated in a range of activities aimed at instilling values of citizenship and public service over a 10-week period.
The success of the Ayrshire pilot programme is now being considered by Police Scotland as a model for encouraging young people around the country to become involved in volunteering with the service, including possibly deploying at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
HRH presented the young volunteers with certificates for completing the ten week course at Dumfries House on Friday morning (Sept 13) meeting them with the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Sir Stephen House.
As well as experiencing a range of physical activities, the young volunteers learned about a number of specialist functions in the police as well as engaging with local community projects.
Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson, who has led the pilot, who also attended the event, said: “Police Scotland has paid a great deal of attention to thinking about how we engage with young people – both at the front line, but also in terms of how we can involve them more in building safer communities and decision-making.
“This included our innovative and ground-breaking project with the national charity Young Scot – called Your Future Your Police. This project included a national survey and local research groups made up of young people who explored the issues with local police and their peers in their communities – it culminated in a National Discussion Day at Tulliallan where the young people told us directly what they thought we needed to do, putting forward a number of ideas and recommendations.
“The Your Future Your Police project – along with the work here in Cumnock – has inspired and informed our thinking. We are exploring a number of potential programmes, but one of our key priorities is to look at how we can translate what has happened with the programme here into a national initiative.
“With a working title of Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, we have asked our partners Young Scot and YouthLink Scotland to help us explore how it could be offered to Police Scotland’s divisions. Our aim is to pilot the programme in key areas first, before rolling out across Scotland over the coming years.
Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive at Young Scot, said: “Young Scot are delighted to be exploring this significant new programme of activity in partnership with Police Scotland and our colleagues at YouthLink Scotland.
“It will help to deepen engagement between the Police and young people, increasing dialogue and breaking down barriers, as well as leading to exciting new opportunities for young people, including the chance to be deployed at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 through the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers programme.”