Cops and Robbers was a game that I used to play when I was but a lad at Laxton Junior School. We used to play it with the entire school (about 100 people) in the playground which was the size of a hockey pitch.

To play you basically need two different "bases". This can either be a specific area or an object that you need to touch (such as a fence). It needs to be suitable distance away from the other base. If you have a lot of people you might need a slightly larger area. A hockey pitch or netball court is perfect because it keeps you all hemmed in so no one can run off from all the action to hide.

One of the bases is for the robbers and the other is the police station (or the prison, whatever takes your fancy). When the robbers are at their base they are safe and cannot be caught by the police. At the beginning of the game the participants are split in two, one half the robbers, the others the cops.

The basic idea of the game is that the cops have to catch all the robbers and lead them to the prison. To catch a robber, the policeman/woman must "shoulder" the robber by putting both hands on their shoulder. If they manage this then the robber isn't allowed to run away and must go with the cop to the prison. When they are at the prison, the robber can't leave even though the policeman/woman can go and catch new people. The only way the robber can leave is if another robber runs from their base to the prison and releases the robber by touching his/her hand. They can then leg it back to their base and safety.

If the robbers are playing unfairly and just sitting in their base not coming out then the police can make the robber's base unsafe until some people leave. It seems a bit unfair but it ruins the game if no one runs out.

When the cops have managed to get all the robbers into the prison then they win. This is very difficult to do but it is fun to play. We always just played up to the bell.

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