CHILDREN enjoyed a kickabout while taking part in a new initiative which aims to foster better relationships between the police and the community.

Ahead of St Mirren’s win over Brechin City on Saturday, star players Stephen McGinn and Stelios Demetriou joined Linwood-based officers Brian Dick and Martin Norwood as kids from five Renfrewshire primary schools competed for a trophy at the On-X sports centre.

Bridge of Weir, Houston, Woodlands, St Fillan’s and Our Lady of Peace primary schools were all represented at the fun event.

And it was the team from Woodlands Primary, in Linwood, who claimed the silverware.

The idea for the tournament came about after Constables Dick and Norwood took up their roles in the new local policing model, which has seen bobbies given dedicated areas for them to police.

Constable Dick said: “It’s important for us to be seen in and around our local schools and to get to know the children and the teaching staff, so we thought a good way to do this was to organise a football tournament.

“This gave us a chance to chat and engage with the children in an informal setting and to build some positive relationships. This makes our job much easier when speaking to the children at a later date.”

Bosses at the Tesco store in Linwood provided food and drinks, while experts at Sign Out made a promotional banner and Linstone Housing Association and Terry Feeney, from the local Spar store, stumped up cash to pay for medals and the trophy.

Chief Inspector Simon Wright, area commander, said: “This was a fantastic initiative.

“Police officers have an important role within the community, not only to tackle crime but also to act as positive role models, so initiatives like this are so important.”