Students get their 'day in court'

Ely College students learning about the criminal justice system during a day 'in court' 

Ely College students learning about the criminal justice system during a day 'in court' - Credit: ECDC

Students from Ely College had their ‘day in court’ thanks to a new initiative by the East Cambridgeshire Community Safety Partnership. 

The light-hearted awareness-raising event at the former Ely Magistrates’ Court used role play to talk about serious issues such as knife-crime and county lines. 

It also gave young people the opportunity to learn more about the workings of a court, including various job opportunities available, and what to do if they come across a crime. 

Students were also informed about the new webpages on East Cambridgeshire District Council’s website that contain information for young people, parents, teachers and carers. 

This ranges from how to report a crime anonymously to signposting to other organisations that can help or provide advice. 

The 13- and 14-year-olds, who all requested to attend the event, also had the opportunity to witness an arrest for a crime.  

They then worked alongside police officers and a practicing judge to find out what happens next before helping to come up with an appropriate sentence. 

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Cllr Lis Every, who chairs the partnership, felt students had “benefitted from hearing about the justice system and how it works. 

“And it has been a real opportunity for them to tell us what their concerns are”.  

Chief Inspector Paul Rogerson said: “It’s so important to speak with young people about how our criminal justice system works and the role we all play as citizens.  

“We used the time to explain how police officers work with the courts to bring people to justice.” 

Judge Jonathan Cooper, said: “This engagement event is very important. Young people need to know what happens in our courts.  

“This day will help them see how police, courts and other agencies work together to keep the public safe.”  

 And specifically, on knife crime, he said “carrying a knife or any kind of weapon is counterproductive. 

“It makes the carrier more likely to be attacked, and any injuries far more likely to be deadly.  

“Carrying a knife, even supposedly to protect yourself, is a crime as soon as you walk out of your front door. This event reassures students and their families that police, courts and our partner agencies take public safety really seriously.  

“That means making sure we have a joined-up approach to stopping knife crime at source.”