Anger as police let seven and eight-year-olds take aim on firing range
West Midlands Police opened its doors to a Year 3 class from Kings Norton Primary who also got to try on riot gear.
A school trip to a police firing range where pupils took aim at targets with toy guns has been criticised on social media.
West Midlands Police opened its doors to a Year 3 class from Kings Norton Primary, Birmingham, to thank pupils who had written to officers following recent terror attacks.
Pictures from the visit show a line of pupils, aged seven and eight, aiming plastic replica firearms at targets metres away.
Lyn Turner wrote on Facebook: “I’m not comfortable with this at all. Primary school kids? Parents don’t like buying toy guns let alone showing them real ones. Not sure about this at all.”
Sarah Massey said she was a “bit horrified” by the picture.
She wrote: “I do very much thank you guys for what you do but must admit I’m a bit horrified by this picture.”
But Claire Milliner wrote on Facebook: “As a parent of one of the yr3 children who attended that day, thank you for taking the time out to spend with our children, normalise police presence and make them feel safer.”
As part of the visit, the pupils also got to dress up in riot gear and talk to officers about their jobs.
Deputy head Dawn Chapman said: “After the awful events in Manchester and London we were talking in class about how to stay safe and who protects us.
“Many of the children had said how they’d seen more police in Birmingham and officers carrying guns. We wanted to stress to them that they shouldn’t feel scared and that the officers were there to keep people safe.
“It was a lovely surprise for us to be invited to the police base and the pupils had a fantastic time, especially on the range and using the sirens and flashing lights.”
Sergeant Mike Dunbar of Birmingham police said “For children to be scared of seeing police, or see them as an intimidating authority figure, is the last thing we want.
“You can see from the photos and from the looks on the kids’ faces on the day that they all had a wonderful time − they were our VIPs for the day and it was a pleasure to host them.”