10 August 2007
The KARROT project is part of Southwark Police's Youth Engagement team. Its aim is to engage positively with young people and encourage a better relationship between the police and the youth of Southwark. Areas where young people are most likely to commit offences are targeted and its aim is to provide alternate activities for young people, who might turn towards anti social behaviour and crime.
At the front of this initiative are the Karrot buses. They are vehicles equipped with ten Internet computer terminals and a smart board for creative art or training programs. Users also have the chance of creating music, using Internet messaging, playing games as well as participating in educational programmes about community safety issues run by police staff and officers.
Many young people in Southwark have had an experience involving the police or know someone who has. As a result some young people can see the police in a negative light and the Karrot buses aim to address this. Imtiaz Uddin, Youth Engagement Co-ordinator and Special Constable, explains more: "After the initial deployment of the bus we often encounter suspicion and apprehension - although there is always a hint of curiosity. However, due to our consistency and patience, as well as the uniqueness of the Karrot Bus, we feel we are engaging those members of the community who would normally never have a positive opinion of or experience with the Metropolitan Police Service."
"The Karrot internet bus allows us to give young people a better understanding of how the police work, through training and fun interactive workshops, as well as having the opportunity to ask questions directly to members of the police service, thus significantly breaking down those barriers and mistrust that may exist between young people and police."
Rotherhithe Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant Alistair Irvine has used the Karrot Internet buses to help tackle anti social behaviour on his ward: "The Karrot bus was employed for a total of 10 weeks. After a few weeks officers began to build a rapport with the kids, getting to know their first names and spending time with them. The bus was so successful that it was employed for a few more weeks at the request of the children. There has been a reduction of anti social behaviour in the area. Officers now often chat with the children, whereas before there would be an element of distrust. Overall it is a huge success.’’
Call the Karrot office
on 0207 232 6004
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