Sergeant Ben Forbes talks following British Citizen's Award
Main article content
Sergeant Ben Forbes has recently been awarded for helping young people develop and keeping communities safe – but things may have been very different.
Growing up in Newham, he was kicked out of school for his behaviour and was 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 aspired to be a police officer and served with the Metropolitan Police Service before joining Essex Police in 2018 where he continues to manage the Thurrock Town Teams and 11 police constables.
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 Police 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.
“Right now I’m in the best place possible, with opportunities with Essex Police and the chance to lead and make a difference.
“I never expected to be in a position where I was winning awards and leading a committed team of dedicated officers.
I’m very proud to serve our community and if you see me and my teamaround, please say hello.”
Ben manages the Town Teams, which cover Grays, Tilbury, Purfleet & Aveley, Stanford-le-Hope and South Ockendon.
His team have been carrying out their patrols, visiting the town centres, shops, supermarkets and pharmacies four times a day.
They’ve been executing warrants and making arrests including:
Charging Cameron Flynn, 20, of Viola Close, South Ockendon, with theft. It follows reports on 1 May that items were stolen from Tesco in South Ockendon. We arrested a man at the scene;
Arresting a man on suspicion possession of an offensive weapons, possession of drugs and possession with intent to supply drugs in Garrisons parade shops in Purfleet on 9 May. The man remains on bail until 4 June;
Arresting a Grays man in North Road, Purfleet, on 3 April on suspicion of driving and drug dealing offences. He remains under investigation.
Securing convictions against a man 29, and a woman 26, following theft offences across the district last month. The woman was jailed for 15 weeks for numerous theft offences.
The team have been helping with reports of anti-social behaviour, including reports of anti-social riding in Tilbury and people gathering in tower blocks in Purfleet.
Neil Woodbridge, who chairs Thurrock 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.
“It’s great to see them the town and I’d like to end by thanking them and Ben – who is very professional and friendly.”
Do you Fit the Bill? We're looking for Police officers to join our family and make a positive change to our community.
If you want to catch criminals, make a difference and help others, apply to become a Police constable now and start your journey with Essex Police: www.essex.police.uk/fitthebill #FitTheBill