Meet PC Ben the new storybook hero Milton Keynes police are bringing to your child's school
PC Ben is the new hero children across Milton Keynes are being introduced to in this latest police initiative.
A force-wide initiative to tackle the root causes of violence in Milton Keynes and all areas of the Thames Valley, has seen officers introducing children to a new character.
As one of many initiatives ongoing among the police force currently, PC Be,n lesson plans are being rolled out across the borough.
On Tuesday (April 27), officers read the PC Ben storybook to children at Brooklands Farm Primary School in Milton Keynes, to help build trust between the police and youngest members of the community. PC Leanne Tayler together with PCSOs Poppy Groves and Arlene Ormston talked to young children about the role of the police within society.
The school visits began this week on Monday (April 26), on “Education and Engagement Day” for the force. This scheme also connects with the concerted effort police officers have made tackling knife crime this week as part of Operation Spectre.
Amnesty bins have been placed outside Milton Keynes Police Station, to encourage the handover of bladed weapons in a safe, anonymous way. Police have also conducted knife sweeps in sections of Milton Keynes and recovered hidden weapons, discovered on these operations.
PC Ben, was written and illustrated by PCSO David Bullock, and explains the role police officers are expected to fulfill within their communities.
The titular, PC Ben, is a neighbourhood police officer and the story takes young readers through a typically busy day Ben spent looking after his local community. PC Ben, is friendly and takes his time to speak to people, is kind and knows how to help as he comes across various situations.
Already, 2,700 copies of the book have been purchased, with around 900 infant and primary schools across the whole Thames Valley to each receive three copies. Parents will receive 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 the 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 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.
Findings from the Thames Valley Police suggest that early-years engagement helps to build positive relationships with the police and can help build resilience to early adverse childhood experiences. The story helps to promote the role of the police as being part of the community, helpful, kind and easy to talk to.
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.”