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College collaborate with police to promote #SoberingMoment campaign

THE PSNI and South Eastern Regional College (SERC) have joined forces to promote the #SoberingMoment campaign, aimed at encouraging young people to make responsible decisions and think carefully about the consequences of their actions.

PSNI Corporate Communications Department, PSNI Newry, Mourne & Down, SERC and Southern Regional College are involved in the initiative that harnesses the skills of young people in Northern Ireland’s Regional Colleges to promote safety and responsible decision making among their peers, as part of their academic course.

#SoberingMoment was launched in 2016 with students from South Eastern Regional College, and Northern Regional College joined the initiative in 2017. This year the students created several digital posters based on a range of themes of anti-social behaviour. Digital media students created and presented their concepts for messaging and were selected to take the project forward.

SERC media tutor Tim Black said: “The #SoberingMoments campaign has been a fantastic opportunity for the students to collaborate with the PSNI. The experience gained by the students in working for a real-world client is invaluable for not only their personal development, but for their employment perspectives in post-academic life. From the students’ perspective, it was crucial that they developed the poster concepts independently as it meant that they could be tailored to their demographic, meaning that it would make a greater impact if the scenarios felt realistic and relatable to the young people.

“This initiative has enabled practical learning and I hope the success of this collaboration brings benefits to other issues and projects in the future.”

Mrs Leanne Barnett, Deputy Head of Corporate Communications, PSNI praised the quality of the work and said the force is proud to have the opportunity to use the across social media. “This has been a great opportunity for PSNI to connect with young people, encourage them to think of the potentially life-changing consequences that their actions or decisions taken at a moment in time can have, and understand the issues important to them.

“The exciting initiative was devised and driven by my department as part of our role in Keeping People Safe. My team and officers from Newry, Mourne & Down also provided support to the young people during the creation and development of the videos, but credit must go to the students whose filming, production and design skills have very much come to the fore. This has been a valuable initiative for all involved and we hope to see #SoberingMoment develop even further next year.”

Police Inspector Russell Vogan, worked with the students on the project and it was educational to hear their views on issues that affect them and what they feel police can do to promote safety messages with young people.

“#SoberingMoment is an excellent example of police having meaningful engagement with young people and working together to develop messages that resonate with that particular age group. I would like to commend these very talented students on their professional approach, dedication and hard work that we will be able to use repeatedly on our social media,” he said.

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