Storybook character PC Ben joins the ranks at Thames Valley Police
Police hope picture book character will help get their message across to schoolchildren
Thames Valley Police’s latest recruit, PC Ben,has been leaping off the page of a new storybook as he helps the force engage with children across the force's area, in time for Operation Sceptre, the national knife crime awareness week, which launched last week.
PC Ben is the title and hero of a new book which neighbourhood policing teams will be using as part of visits to schools, helping to explain the role of the police and promote positive interactions with children now and for the future.
The illustrated book tells the story of PC Ben, a neighbourhood police officer who has a busy day looking after his local community. He is friendly and takes his time to speak to people, is kind and knows how to help as he comes across various situations.
A total of 2,700 copies of the book have been purchased, with around 900 infant and primary schools across the whole Thames Valley set to receive three copies each. Parents will get access to a digital version of the book so they can revisit it at home with their children. Children will also receive colouring sheets and stickers.
Over coming months, a member of the local neighbourhood policing team will arrange with each school to make a visit, reading the short story with children and leading a short lesson, taking questions and explaining who the police are and how they help keep communities safe.
The book was written and illustrated in his spare time by David Bullock, a serving Thames Valley Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).
The project has been funded by the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, a partnership body set up to combat serious violence, using public health approaches to tackle the early, root causes of serious violence.
Sergeant Andy Ward, of the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, said: “Building early positive relationships between young people and the police is a key way that we can help tackle the root causes of crime and serious violence early on. We can build trust, confidence and it helps us maintain good relationships as those children grow older.
“The PC Ben lesson initiative is part of a wider project to work with young people at all ages to help them avoid being drawn into crime and particularly carrying knives.
“In the coming months, my neighbourhood policing colleagues will be arranging visits to schools and are looking forward to reading the story and speaking with children across the force area.”