The efforts of Lanarkshire Police Officers to tackle sectarianism have been honoured by one of the country’s leading anti-bigotry charities.
Officers from Police Scotland Lanarkshire Division have been presented with a ‘Champions for Change’ award by Nil by Mouth.
This is in recognition of a twelve month education and awareness programme ran across schools in the Motherwell and Bellshill area.
Pupils from Our Lady’s High and Braidhurst High in Motherwell and Cardinal Newman High in Bellshill are among those to have benefited from the programme.
Nil By Mouth was set up in 1996 and since then it has campaigned against sectarianism both on and off the terraces, last year working with more than 7,000 pupils in over 100 schools across 22 local authorities.
Its ‘Champions for Change’ scheme recognises best practice in challenging sectarianism across Scottish society.
Initiatives by Lanarkshire Division which have reached thousands of young people during 2015/16 including:
Dedicated anti-sectarian training offered to all participants on Police Scotland Youth Volunteers programme.
Campus cops working in partnership with Nil by Mouth on a range of school workshops and projects.
The first ’Kiss Bigotry Goodbye’ football festival at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility.
The ‘Pause B4U Post’ campaign to raise awareness of the consequences of posting sectarian abuse online.
Nil by Mouth campaign director Dave Scott said: “We have been hugely impressed by the commitment shown by Lanarkshire Division and this award is richly deserved.
“Education is key to challenging prejudice and it’s great to see Police Scotland investing time and effort in grassroots programmes.
“Scotland is bigger, better and brighter than bigotry and we truly believe that this is the generation which will banish it once and for all.”
Lanarkshire Division Chief Superintendent Roddy Irvine was presented with the award by Mr Scott at the National Police Training College in Tulliallan.
He said: “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of Lanarkshire Division.
“Since taking over as the local police commander in January, I have been wholeheartedly impressed by the innovative partnership approach to challenging sectarianism that has been forged between my officers and Nil by Mouth.
“Education and awareness raising are the key components in making hate crime a thing of the past.
“Whether by bespoke inputs to our new officers and Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, encouraging young people to pause before they post on social media or through fusing learning and leisure I know that we have lived up to the new status this award confers upon us; a Champion for Change.”