Special officers aim to educate youngsters

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DEDICATED volunteer police officers were due to be out in force today as part of National Specials Weekend.

Some of the 80-strong Portsmouth team are running four operations combining education and enforcement with a chance to explain more about the role of volunteers in the police service.

At Gunwharf Quays specials were due to be educating shoppers about the dangers of carrying weapons.

Acting sector officer Ricki Scott said: ‘The force’s firearms and knife education campaign runs year-round. We go into schools and set up stalls at community days to talk to people about the laws around, and dangers of, carrying weapons.

‘Some of the guns the force seizes from people are so realistic that even a firearms officer wouldn’t immediately be able to tell if they were real. That’s why it’s important to get people to understand, youngsters especially, that it’s just not worth the risk of carrying them.’

Officers were also set to join the Cosham and Drayton and Farlington Safer Neighbourhoods teams to target anti-social behaviour.

Acting sector officer Gemma Cooper said: ‘We’ll be focusing on parks and open spaces looking for people who are causing a nuisance by drinking or other suspicious behaviour. As a volunteer police officer it’s a great opportunity for us to get involved, provide reassurance and give something back to the community.’

Two traffic operations were also to be held across the city.