There are certain people we would spare little thought for if they slept uneasily in their beds, perhaps waiting for our knock on their door.
But young children are not among them, and when Horsham PC Mike Harvey learned that James Glass, 7, had told his parents that he was having trouble sleeping as he was frightened of the police, Mike decided something must be done to allay his fears.
So after first visiting James at his home in Horsham, Mike, with the help of colleagues, rolled out the red carpet and treated James to a Sunday morning at the police station finding out how the police can be his friend and protect him from harm.
Mike said: "Nobody at that age should be scared or have anxiety. I really wanted to help as I am a disability liaison officer, so I know how anxiety and stress can affect people. James’s parents said he had seen the police in TV shows and feared the police would come and get him if he were naughty.
"I wanted James to know that we are there to protect him and to keep him safe. Protecting good people is why I joined the police. If you can get people to trust you at this early age they will be confident in coming to the police if they are lost, for example."
James's welcome to the police station in Hurst Road, Horsham, included being shown over a police custody van, trying on officers’ hats and handcuffs, and exploring the old police cells.
And as a reminder of his visit, all the officers on shift signed a commemorative certificate declaring James to be a friend of Horsham Police who can call on their help when he’s scared.
James and his sister, Isabella, returned to Horsham Police station on Monday (March 4) to present ‘PC Mike’ and the other officers with thank you cards they had made. ITV Meridian were on hand to film the reunion.
James’s step-mum, Stacie said she and his dad, Russell, were delighted that his anxieties had been so effectively eased since meeting the officers.
She said: "The change in him has been remarkable. He now gets excited when he sees a police car and wonders if it’s one of his ‘friends from Horsham Police.
"We had such a great time and I still can’t thank Horsham Police enough for such a heart-warming response. Everyone was fantastic and so welcoming. Definitely community work at its finest!
"With his new found confidence, James is telling his school all about it in their assembly and passing the message on to his peers."
Stacie added that James had since included 'police officer' among the things he might like to be when he grows up. The role is now vying with following in his dad’s footsteps as an airline pilot or becoming a bus driver.
For those now old enough to consider a police career, more information can be found here.
Author: Jackie Stevens
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