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Officer who transformed his life shortlisted for prestigious award

Things could have turned out very differently for the PC.
Published - 09/08/2017 By - Sophie Garrod - Police Oracle

An inspirational officer who turned his life around has been shortlisted for a National Diversity Award.

PC Ben Forbes, 28, a Transformation Directorate at the Met, was nominated by colleagues and young people who he has tirelessly helped within the community.

PC Forbes supports certain BME men, drawing them away from criminal culture and helping them to contribute positively to society.

He aims to break down community barriers and work with hard-to-reach communities to overcome numerous social and cultural barriers between the police and the public.

PC Forbes, working on the Met’s Workforce Futures Programme, recalls the time he diverted a 17-year-old boy away from crime who was arrested four times for knife possession. He managed to secure a job for him within two hours.

The officer says he was driven to follow this path after the force liaised with his school to steer him away from becoming heavily involved within a gang.

He explains in his blog, A Copper’s Tail, how his story began in the East End of London 27 years ago.

Born to good parents in a difficult neighbourhood – he was an only child of mixed Caribbean and British heritage.

PC Forbes says he aspired to be an officer after watching every episode of The Bill – much to the annoyance of his parents.

But the journey from then to now was turbulent as he struggled growing up. He began to hang around in a gang to feel accepted and safe and ended up in the middle of a street fight. The next day the police officers came to his school.

He said: “I remember to this day the fact that the police officer took the right approach with me. He was calm and balanced, but firm too.

"He could see that I was vulnerable – and he recognised the fact that I needed support to get out of this lifestyle. Before it was too late.”

PC Forbes accepted the help and among various activitives took to water sports - this eventually led him to coach for the British Olympic team.

Three years ago he went onto to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an officer working his way up to Gang Command for Trident.

He said: “If you’d told me at the beginning that I would end up as a police officer, I’m not sure I would have believed you. But for the last three years, that’s exactly what I’ve been. And I love my job."

The officer has now been shortlisted for the Positive Role Model Award for Race, Religion and Faith, and says he wants to give back to society by smashing the barriers between the police and BME community.

“It’s mind blowing to be nominated and I can’t get over it. It’s not just local, it’s national and that’s amazing. Out of 23,000 people nominated, I’m shortlisted," he added.

“It’s amazing and it means a lot. I want to credit the young people and the Met.”

This year's National Diversity Awards will be held at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral on September 8.

The event celebrates the achievements of grass-root communities which tackle the issues in today’s society giving them recognition for their dedication and hard work.

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