COPFS is working with schools on new teaching materials to encourage young people to consider future careers in criminal justice.
The move follows a successful cross-justice event led by COPFS for four North Lanarkshire schools at the
The pupils - from
The event aimed to give the pupils an insight into the range of careers in criminal justice - as well as an overview of investigation, detection, case preparation and the trial process itself. It followed up on previous work with
COPFS Equality champion Ruth McQuaid, a former pupil of
“There should be no barriers to pursuing careers in criminal justice, to the very top – regardless of your gender, class, ethnic background, sexual orientation or disability,” she said.
“Young people should not create self-imposed barriers due to a lack of confidence in their abilities. All the agencies in criminal justice are committed to ensuring equal opportunities.”
Pupils then met a real life cast of professionals who would attend at the locus of a homicide. Moira Orr head of COPFS High Court Division was joined by professionals in the police, forensic and fire services - and
Solicitor Stephen Biggam and Donna Murphy from the Scottish Legal Aid Board gave an insight into criminal defence; while Gill Short offered the Children’s Reporter perspective and Andy Brown from the Scottish Prison Service described the reality of life behind bars.
David McCallum from COPFS then provided a behind the scenes look at the role of a precognition officer preparing the Crown case for trial. During breaks the pupils were invited to visit the COPFS stall where they received careers information from David Casey and Marlene McCaw.
Selected pupils were sworn in as jurors by Sheriff Clerk Depute Laura McGeary from the Scottish Court Service for a mock trial, while Alex Prentice QC, Principal Advocate Depute, and Frances McMenamin, QC, defence counsel gave their insights into the opposing sides.
The pupils had a chance to try on
Ann Munroe, head-teacher of
COPFS is now working with teaching staff to produce resources to allow other pupils access to this unique learning experience.