PUPILS at two secondary schools are to benefit from the introduction of new campus police officers after the council agreed joint funding with Police Scotland for both posts.

South Ayrshire Council is contributing £40,000 over a two-year period to pay for the new officers at Prestwick and Carrick Academy. The recruits will join four other officers already serving at Ayr, Belmont, Kyle and Marr Colleges.

Campus police officers were first introduced in 2008. The council said the presence has had a positive effect, with pupils seeking advice from "friendly and approachable" officers on a wide range of issues such as bullying, making new friends and getting involved in sport and citizenship activities - many of which were delivered by the officers.

Councillor Margaret Toner welcomed the funding.

She said: "Campus police officers are a welcome addition to our schools and the initiative has been excellent in helping build good relationships with young people, parents, families and staff within and outside school.

"They've helped young people in school to understand the role of Police Scotland in their local community and there's direct evidence they have also helped change the way young people think about the police and the work they do - and that's fantastic.

"Pupil surveys also show our young people feeling increasingly safe in their school environment and we've also seen a positive impact of the officers in our primary and nursery schools."

Sergeant Mark Hornby, Police Scotland's Local Authority Liaison Officer for South Ayrshire, added: "Campus police officers have been a part of school life for the past seven years within four of the eight South Ayrshire schools.

"Their presence, in schools and in the local community has been a positive step in building relationships, providing reassurance and delivering educational inputs including personal safety, social media and online safety and drug awareness.

"The additional two officers will allow other schools and communities to benefit from this valued resource."