THE playground game of cops and robbers has come a bit one-sided at a primary school where pupils are being recruited as 'mini police'.

Norton Fitzwarren Primary School is among Somerset schools that have signed up to a new scheme that aims to create positive relationships with local officers.

The project, which also involves the youngsters helping out in their school and the community, was initially trialled in Bristol last year and proved so successful it is being rolled out in other parts of the force area.

The children in Norton will learn what it means to be a police officer and the importance of the community working with police to help protect them from crime.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: "By engaging with children and young people from an early age, the Mini Police aims to reduce future demand, discussing how getting involved in criminality can affect their lives.

"We also hope to plant the seed that policing could offer future opportunities to them either through volunteering as a cadet or as a career path."

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "It’s really important we invest in our children and young people from an early age.

"The Mini Police is a great initiative that not only inspires children to consider a career in policing in later life, but also encourages great relationships between the police and the next generation.

"I’m delighted that the scheme has been so successful and the feedback has been so tremendously positive. I am keen to see more pupils benefit from the scheme as it is beginning to be rolled out across Avon and Somerset."

The scheme has been funded in combination with Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Action Fund and National Volunteer Police Cadets.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen said: "We’re very pleased to be expanding our Mini Police units more widely across Somerset and Bristol.

"Feedback from the pupils, their families, teachers and the wider community from the pilot school in Knowle, Bristol, has been overwhelmingly positive.

"We have seen the children who have been Mini Police grow in confidence. They are proud to put on their uniform and be part of a force for good in their school and the community.

"Teachers also tell us that the behaviour of many of the pupils has also improved. The children learn what police officers do and how they can help people in the communities they live in.

"It is so important for young people to understand how acts of crime and anti-social behaviour can directly affect victims, as well understanding the importance of respecting the law and setting a positive example for their peers."