Armed with Positive Influence . . . The new Eastern Southland School community officer Richard Lindsay meeted and greeted St Mary’s primary school staff members and pupils. PHOTO: VALU MAKA

As the new Eastern Southland school community police officer, Richard Lindsay is aiming to be a positive force within school communities.

He previously worked in Wyndham as a police officer for 14 years. He took up his new position late last month.

In the role he hoped to build trust and confidence with children and the police.

“A lot of kids do have a positive image of police so I want to reiterate that and let them know that the police are safe people they can go to.”

In his new position, he will visit 30 schools throughout the region.

“The schools I will be involved with range from Glenham all the way through to Garston.”

Some of the programmes he would teach pupils in schools included Loves-me-not and Keeping Ourselves Safe.

“The programmes will teach and equip the kids on how to navigate tricky circumstances they may find themselves in as they grow older.”

He hoped children would then be able to go out into their communities and teach others the information they learnt, he said.

His main motivation for taking on the role stemmed from social interactions he had with pupils while he worked in Wyndham, he said.

“I got to see the influence a positive role model can have in their lives.

“As a police officer you don’t often get to see the positive outcomes we have with some of the interactions with people, but I’ve been lucky to get this opportunity.”

He acknowledged the help he received from school officers in Balclutha and Invercargill.

“I’ve been able to turn to them for their knowledge and experiences and they have been more than happy for me to give them a call and ask for advice.”