It was a hard-hitting day for Year 10 students at a Daventry secondary school, as they discovered the impact making one poor decision can have on the rest of their lives.
The Parker E-ACT Academy held its annual crime awareness day on Wednesday July 15.
The day saw the students witness the aftermath of a mocked car crash caused by drink driving. Throughout the day they followed those involved in the crash, through the police investigation which discovers one was carrying a knife, to court and into prison.
They also learnt about other aspects of crime and antisocial behaviour and the long lasting impacts such things can have on their lives.
They saw real CCTV videos of what happens when the police believe you may be carrying a gun, explored the laws surrounding knife crime, learnt how to keep themselves safe online, and looked at the laws around antisocial and disorderly behaviour by acting out a street scene.
They also discovered what life is like in prison, including getting shut into a recreated cell.
In one session the students followed those involved in the car crash through a court, set up by real magistrates and court staff.
Ralf Mills, from the Northampton Bench, reminded the students that the law does not accept peer pressure as a defence, and that each of them are responsible for their own decisions and actions.
He told the room: “Imagine you’re in court as a teenager for drink-driving. Now fast forward to when you’re older and want to go on a holiday to the USA or Australia with your partner and children. Well you won’t be able to because those countries won’t let you in because you are a criminal in their eyes.
“After this crash, the person has to do an extended test to get their licence back. What do you think that will do to their insurance? I know of one case where someone could only get one quote, and that was for £5,000 a year.”
Mr Mills is part of the Magistrates In The Community project, which sees teams from the courts go out and explain to the wider public how they make their decisions, and the impacts crime can have on people’s lives.
Ryan Beau-Mont played Ben, a passenger in the crashed car who later dies. He also went through the day’s lessons when he was in Year 10. He said: “It’s quite impressive seeing the technology and equipment the fire service use to try to save people’s lives.
“It has made me more aware of the issues. The day is quite effective because it shows how something like this effects other people and how a small decision can lead to a life changing situation.”