Pupil-designed talking lamppost could help reduce crime

From left: Shannon Smith, Hannah Furse, Katherine Hart and Emily Wright
From left: Shannon Smith, Hannah Furse, Katherine Hart and Emily Wright

A talking lamppost could soon be used to tackle anti-social behaviour in public.

The lamppost, which would monitor street activity and ‘speak’ to the public, was developed by a group of four pupils from Magdalen College School and won them a county competition.

Shannon Smith, 14, Hannah Furse, 14, Katherine Hart, 13, and Emily Wright, 14, scooped the award at the Northants County Schools Design Challenge and now Northants Crime Reduction Unit is working on how the lamppost could be used on streets across the county.

Police officers from the unit are coming into the school in September to discuss how to turn the idea into reality.

The Brackley school’s team of four Year 9 girls beat off competition from the eight other teams with their innovative design.

Their presentation included a video clip to show how the lamppost could spot early signs of anti-social behaviour with CCTV and the idea was developed after the semi-final, held at police headquarters in Wootton Hall, Northampton.

The pupils were given a tour of the force control room and the girls explained how a Wi-Fi connection on certain lampposts could be linked to staff in the control room.

Police staff would then activate an appropriate message if drink-related behaviour or misuse is seen in that area.

James Allen, a philosophy and ethics teacher at the school in Waynflete Avenue, said: “I was extremely proud of the girls’ achievement in firstly reaching the final and then winning the overall prize.

“Their presentation was stunning and the video clip that they had created about the tragic effects of alcohol harm was very moving and powerful.

“They had worked incredibly hard in fundraising activities both within school selling wristbands and gaining sponsorship outside of school totalling £493, which could be used to further invest in their project.”