Police officers with appropriate training support delivery of effective PSHE education lessons on drugs and the law in a way that increases trust in police fairness, according to a report released today by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Between 2018-2020, the National Police Chiefs’ Council — in partnership with the PSHE Association and the LSE — set out to establish whether police officers could build better relationships and trust with students in classrooms.
Officers involved in the project attended a 2 day PSHE Association training course in advance of delivering a specially designed ‘drugs and the law’ lesson to students as part of schools’ PSHE curriculum. This was preceded and followed up by a lesson delivered by a teacher, ensuring young people were aware of the police visit and able to provide reflections and feedback.
The impact of this one lesson delivered by a trained police officer was tested using a three wave randomised controlled trial in over 80 schools. This found robust evidence that the police-led lesson significantly increased young people’s perception of police procedural fairness (their expectation that officers will treat them with respect, explain their actions, and allow them voice during future encounters) and helped students to learn new concepts. The effects of the intervention were similar regardless of the gender or ethnicity of the participant, the diversity in the area in which they lived, or previous experiences with the police.
Report co-author, LSE Department of Methodology Professor Jonathan Jackson, called the trial a “first-of-its-kind” which found “robust and long-lasting effects on young people’s attitudes”, adding that “interactions with police officers are teachable moments, where individuals learn about the nature of society and its institutions, as well as their role and position within society”.
Visit our 'Police in the Classroom' hub for further information on our collaboration with NPCC and materials such as the 'Police in the classroom' handbook'.
PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said:
“This report both shows the necessity and impact of lessons on topics like drugs and the law, and the positive contribution trained police can make when working in partnership with teachers and schools to plan and deliver such lessons. The project demonstrated the power of combining officers’ expertise in such issues, with teachers and schools expertise in how to deliver safe, effective lessons. The officers involved were a pleasure to train and we would love the opportunity to grow this vital, effective work.”
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) studies the social sciences in their broadest sense, with an academic profile spanning a wide range of disciplines, from economics, politics and law, to sociology, information systems and accounting and finance.
The School has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence and is one of the most international universities in the world. Its study of social, economic and political problems focuses on the different perspectives and experiences of most countries. From its foundation LSE has aimed to be a laboratory of the social sciences, a place where ideas are developed, analysed, evaluated and disseminated around the globe. Visit www.lse.ac.uk for more information.
The PSHE Association is the national body for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education – the school curriculum subject dedicated to supporting children and young people to stay safe, healthy and prepared for life and work. The Association is a charity and membership organisation that supports a network of over 50,000 PSHE teachers and other professionals with guidance, advice, teaching resources and training. www.pshe-association.org.uk