Popular Sunderland PC bids fond farewell to Northumbria Police after 27 years
A PC who developed an innovative way to tackle anti-social behaviour in Sunderland has bid a fond farewell to the force.
PC Alan Bowden has walked his beat for the final time after 27 years of service with Northumbria Police.
The 50-year-old joined the force in 1992 after developing a passion for detective programmes growing up.
He served the community of Pennywell for much of his career where he teamed up with Academy 360 head teacher Rachel Donohue to develop a pioneering way to tackle youth disorder.
PC Bowden would host school assemblies where he tried to change pupil’s perceptions about police officers and Mrs Donohue would also join him on some weekend patrols, visiting places where large groups would hang around.
His initiative saw anti-social behaviour drop by up to 80% on the surrounding estates.
PC Bowden said: “I think it’s really important to work with young people and schools.
“We don’t want children to feel like they have to run away from a uniform out of fear of reprisal - we want children to run towards a uniform whenever they think they’re in danger.
“When Rachel took over as head teacher of Academy 360 in September 2015, I went in and we had a conversation about what I’d like from her and her staff to assist the community, and what she wanted from me.
“I got involved in as much as I could at the school, whether it be behavioural issues, discipline or truancy complaints.
“We recognised that the children who would tend to cause problems in school are more than likely going to be the same individuals who came onto our radar out of school, so it was a great opportunity to build a relationship with these kids and steer them away from trouble.”
And PC Bowden made quite an impression on the youngsters who held an assembly to thank him during his final week with the force.
During his years of service, he tutored student officers, became involved in the Sunderland Mini Police initiative and spent a month on secondment in Guernsey.
PC Bowden continued: “Hopefully, I’ve played a small part in making the area a safe and pleasant place to live.”