Schoolgirls take part in police initiative to 'smash stereotypes'

Pupils from Oaks Park High attended New Scotland Yard at the end of their participation in the MetGirlz scheme

Pupils from Oaks Park High attended New Scotland Yard at the end of their participation in the MetGirlz scheme - Credit: Met Police

Girls from a Newbury Park school toured Met Police units as part of a scheme to "smash stereotypes" around women in policing.

Eighteen pupils from Oaks Park High School 'graduated' from the MetGirlz initiative.

“We wanted to put young women from diverse backgrounds, who we know have trouble trusting police, at the front and centre of this project," PC Claire Argyle, one of the organisers of the programme, said.

“It’s no secret that east London has challenges with violence. That means that the only experience of police that these girls might have is when things around them are going wrong.

One pupil meets a police horse

One pupil meets a police horse - Credit: Met Police

"Welcoming their questions around why police operate the way they do, what it takes to join the service as a woman, and just showing these bright young women that police officers are approachable and helpful, has massively changed their perception of the service.

"It was really special to see these girls speaking with police on a level.”

The girls visited territorial support group units, dogs section, mounted branch and the firearms command "to smash stereotypes around women in policing and encourage open and honest conversation around law enforcement", a Met spokesperson explained.

A girl tries on equipment used by the territorial support group

A girl tries on equipment used by the territorial support group - Credit: Met Police

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Five out of the 18 girls said that they were keen to pursue a career in the Met, they added.

A ceremony last week saw many of the pupils attend New Scotland Yard to be awarded with certificates to mark the end of the project.

Assistant commissioner Louisa Rolfe said she was "really impressed" by the girls, adding: "They’ve really challenged us about the way that we police and they’ve put forward some brilliant ideas about how we can build trust."

Learning about forensics at a mock crime scene

Learning about forensics at a mock crime scene - Credit: Met Police

Liam McDonnell, pastoral leader for Year 13 at Oaks Park, said: "The sessions in school and the variety of opportunities to visit different elements of the Metropolitan Police have enabled our students to enhance their ambitions for the future.

"Our students have left each session buzzing with excitement and knowledge. It has been a pleasure working with the MetGirlz team and being the pilot school for this programme this year.”

The initiative is set to be rolled out across the capital in the coming months.