A fun-filled activity day bringing the community together got a huge thumbs-up from young people who flocked to the event.
Excited youngsters in Stapleford got the chance to sit in a Nottinghamshire Police Operation Reacher car and as well as finding out more about the excellent work of the force’s specialist drone team.
The popular summer roadshow event, held in Hickings Lane Recreation Ground, also included fun and informative activities run by other partner organisations, namely Notts County Foundation, Nottinghamshire County Council Youth Service, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the Army.
About 65 people enjoyed the activities on Tuesday (17 August 2021) despite the dull weather and it was a timely show of unity in a tight-knit community rocked by negative issues in recent times – including the ongoing trial of Jake Rollinson who is accused of murdering 16-year-old Joe Whitchurch in the town on Boxing Day. He denies murder.
Among those who attended the positive activity day were Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, Neighbourhood Inspector Simon Riley and Mayor of Broxtowe councillor Richard MacRae.
Also joining in the fun was event organiser and Nottinghamshire Police youth outreach worker Romel Davis.
He said: “These roadshows are a great opportunity for us to positively engage with young people and build trust and confidence in the police, while delivering and providing fun activities with various partners.
“Events like this bring young people and the community together. The benefits include young people being able to learn more about the police and other organisations such as fellow emergency services, the armed forces and youth and sport providers and also learn new skills for the future.”
Nottinghamshire Police’s Operation Reacher car and drone talk were a big hit with 10-year-old Oliver Westby and eight-year-old Finley Haigh.
Oliver said: “I liked going in the big police van. The police officers were really nice and we were able to put the sirens on and press all the buttons.
“It was pretty cool learning about the drones too and how the police use them to track criminals and help find missing people.”
Finley added: “I liked being in the police car and honking the horn and I also enjoyed the Army training activities.”
Police Constable Vince Saunders, from the forces drone team, said: “It’s good for us to come out and talk to youngsters about the work we do.
“They were very interested and wanted to know how high we can fly the drones and if we use them to spy on people!
“Seeing a friendly face and being able to have a laugh and a joke makes them realise we’re not scary people in uniform and they can come to us later in their lives if they need our help.”
Insp Riley said: “I’m pleased we had a such a good turnout in the park and the feedback we’ve had has been really positive.
“To see so many young people come down to the event and get involved was tremendous – as was the support shown from the adults who either brought children to the event or just came to have a look at what was going on.
“We remain committed to making the community safer and we are continuing to work closely with partners at Broxtowe Borough Council, Stapleford Town Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to continue to make a difference to the Stapleford community.
“We are looking at a number of new initiatives to build on the success of an operation to proactively target antisocial behaviour, violence and criminality.
“Community engagement through events such as this one is a key part of this approach. Our proactive operations will continue and the Broxtowe south and Broxtowe Reacher teams will continue to operate in Stapleford in order to target criminality in the area.”
Mrs Henry said: “I am delighted to have attended this youth event in Stapleford and engage with young people and the neighbourhood policing team here.
“Community engagement is an important part of the work Nottinghamshire Police do and events such as these are opportunities to bring communities together.
“I know the neighbourhood policing team here in Stapleford is continuing to work hard to make the community safer, utilising the additional funding that has been made available to them to improve the infrastructure in the area.
“I particularly want to thank Romel Davis for his tireless efforts organising this successful event.”
Mr MacRae said: “Engagement events like this are all about bringing unity to the community. The kids really enjoyed themselves and it let them know the police are friendly and approachable.
“It really made my day being able to sit in the Operation Reacher car as Mayor of Broxtowe. I’m still buzzing about it now!
“It’s possible some of the young people at the activity day may be future police officers themselves so I’m pleased they had fun taking part in the activities and hopefully it also provided them with some inspiration.”
The Broxtowe neighbourhood team is looking for suitable and committed volunteers to assist with becoming cadet leaders in Stapleford. Anyone interested should contact Sgt Liz Gaskin, Sgt Tara Clapperton or Insp Simon Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject to vetting checks they could step into the role.
Picture one: From left to right are Sgt Elizabeth Gaskin, Insp Simon Riley, Romel Davis, Commissioner Henry and Cllr Richard MacRae.