Catholic schools in Northern Ireland are to be offered visits by the police service in an attempt to overcome traditional barriers between them. It is hoped that the initiative will ultimately lead to more Catholic recruits joining the PSNI. The scheme has been fully supported by Catholic bishops. The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), bishops and the PSNI have been negotiating for months on how best to roll out the project. All Catholic schools have received letters encouraging them to reply to letters from the police asking permission to speak to pupils. It is understood just over 100 schools in priority areas will be targeted first. Assistant chief constable Will Kerr has been involved in the delicate negotiations. \"I think we have to acknowledge that there were some areas and some schools where the relationships would have been a bit more difficult,\" he said. \"I think what the CCMS and the PSNI agreed was that we were less interested in why that was the case in the past, we were very interested in making young Catholic school children have access to this programme so they can make informed decisions about their safety and their responsibilities.\" It is expected there may be resistance to police visits in some areas but the Catholic council has told schools it fully backs greater police presence in Catholic schools.