George Latham, who is 5, had the real experience of becoming a police officer for the day at his local station in Wigan this week.
The visit came about after George, who during lockdown was trying to keep busy and practice his writing, wrote to say he likes the police and always waves at officers when out and about on his walk as they keep the community safe. A picture of a police car was also sent and now sits pride of place on the wall inside the Wigan district offices.
The station wrote back to invite him in for a special guided tour during the school holidays once it was safe to do so, to have a look at what they do as a thank you for being so kind.
On arrival he was presented with his own GMP police kit which included a police high-vis vest, police hat, warrant card, whistle, baton, handcuffs, and radio.
George with Sergeant Steve Aspinall and Chief Superintendent Emily Higham
A confident boy with a beaming smile, he was in awe for the full afternoon and will undoubtedly make an excellent police officer in the future after taking in an interest in what other people were doing and always asking questions.
PC Latham 999 as he was known for the day, raised a smile from everyone he met which included a variety of officers from different areas of the division and found out more about they do behind-the-scenes.
PC Hamish Carter, who is a dedicated officer for the Ashton-in-Makerfield area, was heading out to a job whilst on duty and spared five valuable minutes to speak to George who was interested in where he was going in his local community.
Sergeant Steve Aspinall looked after George on the day along with Chief Superintendent Emily Higham and showed him around, with PC Andrew Kay, during a shift change, also taking time out to explain the equipment he had on him from the breathalyser to taser and handcuffs. Showing and comparing with George’s gifts.
Whilst outside in the sun looking at the police vehicles and being showed the sirens and lights, he met two PCSOs, along with Detective Inspector Nat who was on his last day at Wigan before transferring to another part of Greater Manchester Police.
After that, he was shown to the parade room, and probably his favourite part of the day, where he got to meet the response officers where they are based between shifts doing their paperwork. Real life officers all taking time out of their busy day to say hello to George and answer questions. George responded in kind giving them a little lift and some energy by sharing some of his biscuits and sweets.
George beaming with pride after his police visit to the Wigan district
On the special day, he said; “I like the sirens and flashing lights on the cars and want to be a policeman when I’m older.
“I’m really happy and can’t wait to tell my friends when I go back to school in Year 1.”
With his family in attendance including his parents, cousin and Nanna, his Dad, added; “It was great to get a response and it’s been special for us all. He was so excited to come and it’s just great to see the local police take the time to do what they have done, going above and beyond any expectations.
“Back in the day when I was at university, I wanted to join the police and looked into applying but the rules and regulations were a lot stricter back then.”
Fast forward to today and Greater Manchester Police are still recruiting for people to join the force to help protect and serve its communities. With a focus on local policing and ensuring people from all backgrounds are represented.
George with Chief Superintendent Emily Higham
Chief Superintendent Emily Higham, the Wigan District Commander, was only too happy to open the doors to George to show him around and expressed her delight at what is good proactive community relations.
“It’s the first time I’ve personally experienced something like this and it’s great. It’s the least we can do, to take a couple of hours out of our day to make a very special boy’s dream come true.
“It’s a nice thing to do and has made a big impact us on all, reminding us why we love doing what we do. It’s all about the local community and protecting people like George. To be able to meet a loving family that supports policing also makes our day.”
GMP are actively recruiting for police officers whilst also looking for people to transfer back to the force. But in George’s case, he can start his life as a police officer properly when he turns 13, joining the Police Cadets to learn about policing and what it takes by helping out at events.
From there he will be able to join as an apprentice as a police staff member at around 17 and then join properly, with the Chief Superintendent insisting she would love to personally help with any application as she can’t wait to see him as one of GMP’s officers in the future after he works hard at school.