Government cuts to SchoolBeat a retrograde step – Plaid
Cutting police visits to schools would be a retrograde step and result in a generation of children losing out on vital advice and information, according to a North Wales AM who has joined forces with his local police commissioner to call on the Government to rethink plans to cut funding towards the SchoolBeat programme.
The All Wales Schools Liaison Core Programme, known as SchoolBeat, is a jointly funded programme between the Welsh Government and the Police. It ensures that police visit each school across the country talking to children from four to 16 years old about substance misuse, domestic violence, online safety, sexting and other key issues facing children today.
Llyr Gruffydd AM met with North Wales Police Commissioner Arfon Jones to discuss the matter saying “cutting this service would be a retrograde step, and it would undermine an important means to convey important messages directly to children and young people who might be affected.”
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Education Secretary, said that the Government’s plans to cut its funding would lead to a generation of children losing out on critical information.
“It’s disappointing that the Government doesn’t value the good work done by SchoolBeat. These Police Officers have contact with children of all backgrounds across Wales and they talk to them directly about vitally important issues, such as substance misuse, domestic violence and online safety. These are the issues facing our children today, and we have a duty to engage with them. I’m glad that the Police Commissioner for North Wales has committed funds to continue with the SchoolBeat Programme albeit at a reduced level, and I urge the Welsh Government to show the same vision and allow these police officers to carry on with their good work. Prevention is better than cure and this programme will undoubtedly save a lot of pain in the longer term.”
Arfon Jones, the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the All Wales Policing Group said: “Commissioners and Chief Constables discussed the Schoolbeat funding at our meeting this week and we are concerned at the implications of this cut. I believe this is a short sighted decision without assessing the impact. It contradicts and goes against other Welsh Government priorities like the Adverse Childhood Experiences project and compliance with the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act. The decision should be reversed in the interests of the health and wellbeing of children and young people”.