Sunderland Pc swaps the beat for books

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POLICEWOMAN Kirsty Hall is more used to reading baddies their rights than children a story.

But yesterday she swapped the beat for books when she arrived at a Washington primary school.

The officer read the tale she had written to an attentive young audience.

Pc Hall wrote Billy and Molly’s Safe Adventure in a bid to help keep the city’s children safe.

The book follows the brother and sister as they go on their travels outside their small village in Washington. As the tale unfolds, it gives out important messages to young people about stranger danger and road safety.

The story proved a real page turner with her captivated audience.

Carmen Wilson, five, said: “It was a bit naughty because they threw snowballs in the book, and you’re not allowed.”

Ryan Johnson, six, added: “It was good because when they came to a road, they did not cross it because there might have been cars.”

April Wynn, five, said: “It was great. She read it really nicely.”

The book also aims to teach pupils about the effects of antisocial behaviour and having respect for the elderly and the community.

Pc Hall, who covers the Washington area, said: “We’re always looking at ways of engaging with children.

“The earlier we can give them safety advice and let them become familiar with officers, the better. I thought writing a children’s story was an ideal way to do just that.

“I also have two young children of my own and know the type of messages I’d like to be given to them.

“I hope they use the advice given in the story so that they can have their very own safe adventures in the future.”

Copies of the book will be made available to schools in the area.

The story has also been added to the youth version of the Northumbria Police website Ebeat.

Washington Neighbourhood Inspector Paul Stewart, Pc Hall’s boss, said: “It’s important children know how to stay safe, are familiar with police and know they can ask us for help if they need it.

“The book and storytime sessions are an ideal way to do all of these things and I hope the children enjoy it.

“We’re always happy to come into schools and speak to pupils.”

Washington councillor Harry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland Council, said: “This is a real grass-roots project here. We’ve got a story written locally, being told locally and with a local message. ”

Download a copy of Billy and Molly’s Safe Adventure from Ebeat by visiting: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/ebeat/mypod/

Twitter: @craigjourno