IN THIS week’s article, I have the pleasure of introducing PC Shaun Cruden, who is the new school link officer for Haddington, Dunbar and North Berwick catchment schools.

Shaun joined us from Edinburgh division in 2022 and has previously worked in school environments so I’m sure pupils, staff and parents will all welcome him into their schools over the next few weeks as he settles in.

From my point of view, school link officers provide invaluable support and act as a point of contact to the high schools and primary schools throughout East Lothian. They are a visible presence in and around the schools and local communities, and are there to build positive relationships with pupils of all ages.

READ MORE: Police column: Facing the rise in digital crime

As well as investigating crimes that happen within the schools, officers are a familiar and approachable link to pupils, parents and teachers, and I would recommend contact with these officers for advice and support in all matters around school. Officers regularly deal with complaints of ongoing bullying, which increasingly involves cyberbullying through social media, and also investigate child protection issues.

One of the main things the school link officers do within schools is to provide inputs to pupils from nursery age groups through to high school students getting ready to enter the world of employment and tertiary education. These inputs range from general ‘Keeping Yourself Safe’ topics like internet safety and drugs awareness, to crime inputs like hate crime, knife crime and cyberbullying.

READ MORE: Police Column: Welcome to new team members

Possibly the most prevalent issue at this time is the inappropriate use of social media such as Snapchat and TikTok. It is vital that we all work together to help young people navigate these forums safely. This begins at home and I would request that parents and carers make themselves aware of their child’s social media activity and ensure they are using their mobile devices safely and responsibly.

As a parent myself, I know only too well that this is challenging; however, it is vital in our work to keep our children safe. My entire policing team in East Lothian are committed to supporting parents and carers in this and promoting the safe use of social media.

I would urge anyone seeking more information to use the following link to CEOP Education ( and, if you have further questions, to follow up with appropriate school staff and school link officers.