Papakura High School students are walking the beat as part of their studies in a programme designed to lead them to a career with the New Zealand Police.
The school has launched its Introduction to Police Studies - Hotaka Piri Kura programme - with 13 students enrolled.
Senior police turned out to support the launch, including Counties Manukau district commander Superintendent Jill Rogers, Papakura commander Inspector Dave Glossop and Counties Manukau area prevention manager Inspector Tony Wakelin.
Labour MP Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki also attended, telling the students that she was the only MP allowed out of Wellington in the wake of events in Christchurch. “That’s how important we see this initiative, and your commitment to it.”
Papakura Local Board Chair Brent Catchpole was instrumental in securing the scheme.
"I had a chance meeting with Police Commissioner Mike Bush and said the scheme, which was being trialled in Rotorua, would be ideal for Papakura High School.
"We have had to overcome a few hurdles, but thanks to the amazing support we have had across the board, it’s great to see it finally in operation."
He says the exciting initiative opens career paths for Papakura’s young people, and the students taking part reflect the community’s ethnic diversity.
The scheme has already grown, with nine schools taking part this year, and the two trial schools, Rotorua boys’ and girls’ highs, seeing applicant numbers more than double.
School principal John Rohs says there are high hopes the scheme will become a magnet for young people wanting to make a difference in their communities.
"It’s a wonderful programme that can only help develop well-adjusted young people who contribute to society."
Participating students received a pin to acknowledge their commitment from Superintendent Rogers.
"Joining the police is about selfless service to your community. I can promise you this, with a career in the police ordinary people will achieve extraordinary things."
A group of students from Pukekohe High School, also interacting with police, was also at the launch.