Coronavirus: Police officers read bedtime stories to children via YouTube during lockdown

Officers from a Safer Neighbourhoods Team based in Croydon have found a creative way to keep in contact with local pupils while the majority of schools across London remain shut.

In a bid to support parents through their daily routine and to keep consistency for children who are used to visits from the officers at school, Safer School Officers PCs John Barry and Greg Rainey have recorded videos of them reading storybooks perfect for bedtime.

A Safer School Officer’s normal role is to regularly attend primary and secondary schools and build a rapport with both pupils and staff. They cover a range of responsibilities from crime investigation to engaging with pupils and discussing topics such as online safety.

During these challenging and unprecedented times these officers wanted to make sure they could still keep a positive presence in children’s lives through social media.

PC Barry said:

“The children are used to seeing us on a regular basis and obviously since the Government’s restrictions came into place our level of interaction with them has dropped drastically.

“Parents and teachers have informed us that there is a certain level of nervousness around the current situation and the changes in routine has been unsettling for some of the pupils.

“I watched my own children gain pleasure from having their school teacher read them a bedtime story via social media and thought this could be something we could adopt easily.

“The idea is to maintain a visible presence in as many young people’s lives as possible without bringing up the pandemic.

“We hope that the children who watch us reading to them in our uniforms are reassured that police officers are still working to keep them safe.

“We also hope that they receive some comfort that in despite of the temporary changes we are all experiencing, life is carrying on and we can still experience human interaction using the wonders of modern technology.”

The videos were so successful with students in Croydon, they have now been shared to primary schools across Bromley, Croydon and Sutton with officers of all ranks joining in the initiative.

You can watch PC Barry and PC Rainey and some of their colleagues read stories such as ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ and ‘Room on the Broom’ on the Met’s YouTube channel.

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