22 July 2016

NBM Campaign Director Dave Scott presenting the award to Lanarkshire Division Chief Superintendent Roddy Irvine at the National Police Training College
NBM Campaign Director Dave Scott presenting the award to Lanarkshire Division Chief Superintendent Roddy Irvine at the National Police Training College

The efforts of Lanarkshire Police Officers to tackle sectarianism have been honoured by one of the country’s leading anti-bigotry charities.

Officers from Police Scotland Lanarkshire Division have been presented with a ‘Champions for Change’ award at the National Police College in Tulliallan by campaigners Nil by Mouth in recognition of a twelve month education and awareness programme ran across schools the area.

The award, recognises a number of initiatives undertaken by the Lanarkshire Division which have reached thousands of young people across Lanarkshire during 2015/16 including:

  • Dedicated anti-sectarian training offered to all participants on Police Scotland Youth Volunteers programme.
  • Campus Cops working in partnership with Nil by Mouth on a range of school workshops and projects focusing on the harmful impact of sectarianism.
  • The Hosting of the first ’Kiss Bigotry Goodbye’ football festival last month at Ravenscraig Sports Centre bringing together seven high schools from across Lanarkshire.
  • The ‘Pause B4U Post’ campaign aimed at raising awareness of the consequences of posting sectarian abuse online.

Nil By Mouth was set up by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson following the brutal sectarian murder of her friend Mark Scott in 1996. Since then it has campaigned against sectarianism both on and off the terraces. Last year it worked with more than 7,000 pupils in over 100 schools across 22 local authorities. Its ‘Champions for Change’ scheme recognises best practice in challenging sectarianism across Scottish society.

Nil by Mouth Campaign Director, Dave Scott, said:
“We have been hugely impressed by the commitment shown by Lanarkshire Division and this award is richly deserved. Education is key to challenging prejudice and it’s great to see Police Scotland investing time and effort in grassroots programmes like the recent ‘Kiss Bigotry Goodbye’ football festival which saw seven schools from across Lanarkshire take part in a day of sporting events and educational inputs aimed at breaking down barriers between young people. We have also been delighted with the support the Police have provided for our ‘Pause B4U Post’ campaign which highlights the consequences of posting sectarian abuse online. Scotland is bigger, better and brighter than bigotry and we truly believe that this is the generation which will banish it once and for all.”

Chief Superintendent Roddy Irvine said:
“I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of Lanarkshire Division. Since taking over as the Local Police Commander in January, I have been wholeheartedly impressed by the innovative partnership approach to challenging sectarianism that has been forged between my officers and Nil by Mouth. Education and awareness raising are the key components in making hate crime a thing of the past. Whether by bespoke inputs to our new officers and Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, encouraging young people to pause before they post on social media or through fusing learning and leisure in organising Scotland’s inaugural Kiss Bigotry Goodbye football festival, I know that we have lived up to the new status this award confers upon us; a Champion for Change.”