Creative pupils help crime-fighting sting

Proud win: Safer Schools officer Tracey Clarkson, Lili Rowe, 13, Det Ch Insp Elizabeth Belton.
Proud win: Safer Schools officer Tracey Clarkson, Lili Rowe, 13, Det Ch Insp Elizabeth Belton.
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Creative teens have been doing their bit to sting criminals by designing posters to promote West Yorkshire Police’s major crime-fighting campaign - Operation Viper.

Youngsters from Garforth Academy got their artistic juices flowing as part of an engagement initiative organised by Safer Schools officer Tracey Clarkson.

The overall winner was 13-year-old Lili Rowe from Garforth.

Lili’s colourful design and impactive message of ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time’ earned her a £40 shopping voucher.

Det Ch Insp Elizabeth Belton, from West Yorkshire Police’s Viper Team, was on hand to present Lili with her prize during a special assembly.

A £20 runners up prize was also awarded to fellow student, 12-year-old Emily Parkes, also from Garforth. The judges liked Emily’s striking image of a viper snake.

Safer Schools officer Tracey Clarkson praised the efforts of students and said: “I am always impressed with the creativity of young people and they really got into the spirit of what we’re trying to achieve through Viper- which is our major crime initiative to combat prolific and persistent offenders.

“All the designs were fantastic and it was very difficult to pick the winners,” added Tracey.

Assistant principle of Garforth Academy Leigh Barber said: “I know how much the students enjoy the time they have with our Safer Schools officer Tracey and that’s clearly reflected in the effort and creativity you can see in the winning designs. This type of initiative and the work of Safer Schools officers in general helps to provide young people with additional guidance and support within the school environment while also helping to form long-lasting and vital relationships between students, schools and local police.”

West Yorkshire Police’s major crime reduction offensive Operation Viper has reduced burglary across the county by 20 per cent and robbery by 10 per cent since it came into force in October last year. Linked crime-fighting campaign, Operation Viper 4 saw nearly 50 people were arrested during four days over the bank holiday weekend.

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