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Citizen?s Award sergeant says he ?could have gone down different path?

Officer who served with the Met and now Essex, presented with award for work diverting gang members
Published - 29/05/2020 By - Gary Mason

An Essex sergeant who has received a British Citizen’s Award for his work with young people has spoken about how his life could have been very different when as a young man he was excluded from school.

Sergeant Ben Forbes, grew up in the London Borough of Newham, and was kicked out of school for his behavior.

But he says his life started to turn around after being given an opportunity to work as an assistant at the Royal Victoria Docks’ Water Sports Centre.

From there he worked hard and was successful in securing funding from the Jack Petchey Foundation and won the charity’s Young Person Award.

He then aspired to a career in policing and served with the Met before joining Essex Police in 2018 where he now manages 11 officers working in the Thurrock Town Teams.

This year he received the British Citizen’s Award at the House of Lords for mentoring young people and diverting those involved in gangs onto the right path, just before receiving his promotional certification from Essex in February.

Father-of-four Ben, 31, said: “I wasn’t great at school and I got kicked out before being presented with an opportunity.

"From that moment I felt believed in and wanted to turn my life around.

“I’m an advocate of young people and I want to see them strive, succeed and supported – just like I was.

 “I never expected to be in a position where I was winning awards and leading a committed team of dedicated officers.

The Town Teams cover Grays, Tilbury, Purfleet & Aveley, Stanford-le-Hope and South Ockendon.

They’ve been executing warrants and making arrests for theft, possession of offensive weapons, possession of drugs and possession with intent to supply drugs.

The team also deal with anti-social behavior and anti-social riding.

Neil Woodbridge, who chairs theThurrock Independent Advisory Group, said: “Ben and his officers are more visible, friendly and will get things sorted. We feel listened to and the towns seem a much safer place to live and work.”

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