Cheshire Police attended Blacon High School yesterday with staff from Westminster Drug Project (WDP) New Beginnings as part of a new initiative.

Their goal is to prevent young people becoming victims of criminal exploitation.

PC Julia Williams, Chester's Local Policing Unit lead for child exploitation and Blacon Beat Managers PC Dan Saxon, PCSO Jo Pendrey and DI Nick Henderson visited the school on 2 March.

Alongside them was PC Steph Allinson and her drug detection dog, Otis. PC Allinson and Otis toured the school to engage with pupils at break time.

Staff from WDP's New Beginnings delivered whole school assemblies about illegal substances to explain what health and wellbeing support is available to young people.

Police Officers also spoke about the laws around illegal substances and the consequences of being caught.

DI Nick Henderson said: "This initiative is not about criminalising young people or excluding them from school.

"Instead, the aim is to engage and educate pupils about the health risks of taking illegal substances, inform them of the potential consequences in terms of criminal offences and most importantly to raise their awareness of the risk of becoming criminally exploited.

"This is a proactive partnership prevention and safeguarding initiative the sole aim of which is to keep the young people in Chester safe from those who seek to exploit them."

Amnesty bins were also provided to give pupls the opportunity to dispose of anything they shouldn't be in possession of.

Rachel Huson, Head teacher at Blacon High School, said: "Today, we welcomed the opportunity for students to speak to the Police and staff from the WDP New Beginnings in assemblies, the highlight of which was meeting Otis, the Police dog.

"It is so important for students to learn about the risks of drugs and this experience was a key part of our work to inform students of the facts, enabling them to make positive choices as part of this Cheshire wide initiative."

Jane Murphy of WDP New Beginnings said that the initiative had worked well and was well received by pupils.

If you would like to talk to someone about your, or someone else’s drug or alcohol use, please contact New Beginnings’ free and confidential service on 0300 303 4549 or