Summary of the intervention of the Central Unit of Citizen Participation during the ENDING project “Digital Health and Safety against school dropout“.
The National Police is involved in educational projects with the aim of supporting schools in education and bullying prevention in the context of ICTs, among other issues. To this end, the Citizen Participation Unit has been created to provide assistance to the most vulnerable groups, especially minors and young people, so that they know how to react in the event of being victims of crimes related to the use of ICTs. In short, they develop educational initiatives with a police approach to improve the community.
The National Police has a preventive role to guarantee the free exercise of constitutional rights and freedoms, including the right to education, one of the most important rights. This is where the police can intervene to protect children who suffer bullying or harassment in the classroom, and ensure that they exercise their right to a free and unhindered education. Their event board often features a quote from Nelson Mandela: “Education is the best weapon to change the world.”
More than 600 Citizen Participation officers prepare specific talks to meet the needs of schools or anyone who has requested them. They work with teachers, parents, institutions and students.
The police officers go to the schools in uniform and armed, as prevention and protection is part of their main function as police officers. Moreover, in this way, they can effectively transmit the need to study hard and prepare themselves physically to children interested in becoming police officers.
One of their objectives is to prevent and detect bullying inside and outside schools, including cyberbullying. Social networks are often used to harass minors and the National Police works to ensure that the educational community knows they can count on them at any time.
In addition to providing preventive talks they offer security and detect problems to transfer them to specialized units. The unit also witnesses acts of bravery on the part of children who recognize that they have been victims of bullying and works to help make this happen less and less. Children’s trust in the unit’s workers is fundamental to achieving its mission of citizen security and making good citizens.
The National Police also organizes activities to work on empathy and assertiveness, in order to improve well-being in the classroom. These activities allow minors to put themselves in the place of the victim and the perpetrator, understanding the motivations and effects of their behavior. It takes into account the importance of witnesses and observers, who can encourage the repetition of these negative attitudes through their online interactions. Overall, one of its main objectives is to prevent and respond to bullying and to promote a safe and positive classroom environment.