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Winners Crowned in School Safety Contest

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Four local schools battled it out in a Dragons’ Den style event to find a winner in the final of the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner’s safety app design contest.

A team from St. John’s CE Foundation Middle School, from Bromsgrove, were ultimately picked as the overall winners for their app.

They won a £2,000 prize and will now work with the University of Worcester to develop their winning design, with the ultimate goal of rolling it out to the public.

Their app, called Choice, aims to teach children how to be safe on the internet and on the streets.

Students took turns pitching their designs to a panel of experts including PCC Bill Longmore, Deputy PCC Barrie Sheldon, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen, Dr David Bozward, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the University, and Neil Woodward, a Worcester-based Inventor and successful Dragons’ Den entrepreneur.

The judges were highly impressed with each school’s ideas, but ultimately had to make a choice on the winning design.

West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore said: “I realise we could only pick one winner, but throughout this contest the most pleasing thing for me has been seeing the response of young people. It’s clear that they really do care about helping to prevent crime and increase safety, and they have some fantastic ideas to help achieve those goals.”

“It’s absolutely vital that we work with young people for help and solutions to the issues that affect them, and I am sure everyone involved in this project has learned a lot which will ultimately help us all in the future.”

Dr David Bozward, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, who was on the judging panel, said: “The creativity we saw from the young people, especially around the design and development of apps, was amazing. This will be a step change in creating greater awareness in young people of the creation of apps and their use in a social context. We are very much looking forward to developing this app further.”

This event marked the end of the PCC’s ‘Stay Safe, Be Aware!’ project with schools. The first part saw primary school pupils designing safety posters, whilst secondary students were asked to design new safety apps.

Schools taking part were sent a whole range of information to deliver key messages around safety and crime prevention as part of lessons – covering everything from cyber crime to hate crime. These messages were delivered to thousands of young people in schools across the West Mercia area.

Bill Longmore said: “I am very grateful to all the schools and teachers who have bought into this project and worked with us. Teachers already do so much great work to develop our children and turn them into responsible, well-rounded young adults. I hope this project only adds to that, and will help to also keep them safe, and away from crime in every way.”