Tauranga school children examined murder mysteries, climbed walls and came face-to-face with a gun-wielding robber during a police activity day.
Teams from 19 Western Bay of Plenty intermediate schools took part in a Blue Light intermediate personal competency test activity day at TECT Arena yesterday.
Children examined crime scenes for DNA and competed in the gruelling competency test, which involved climbing through windows, pushing a loaded trailer and darting under low hurdles at speed.
Te Aranui Youth Trust operations manager Wendy Nicholls said the winners of the competency test challenge would compete against other regional schools in the national champs later this year.
"This is the actual test that police have to do to be fit for the job.
"It's fantastic for kids because they're at an age where they don't have exams and they're not too little for some of the tests," Ms Nicholls said.
A gun-wielding man wearing sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt stormed in to rob Ms Nicholls of her purse as she spoke to children during a morning break.
The scenario was secretly part of the day's activities, and helped teach surprised children the importance of observation skills under pressure and how witness statements could vary on the one incident, Ms Nicholls said.
Teams were asked to fill out description forms of the offender, who fled the stadium to return later as Tauranga police Detective Sergeant Nigel Grey.
Blue Light is a charity organisation set up to improve the relationship between young people, police and the community.
The intermediate competency test competition is an annual event.