A retiring community police officer has stressed his fears that children will no longer have a safe place to play when he was a special guest at a Sheffield adventure playground fun day.
PC Alan Hancock was surprised with a Community Commendation when he attended a fun day at Pitsmoor Adventure Playground. He is retiring later this month and the playground users’ group decided to mark the occasion.
They wanted to highlight his work in creating community cohesion.
The adventure playground is running a series of fun days to celebrate its work. Council budget cuts have meant that its opening hours have been shortened and local families are worried for its future.
The fun day was attended by about 150 people who took part in arts and crafts, willow den making, seed planting, a cooperative games session, zumba and cake making.
PC Hancock said: “When I started work in Burngreave and Pitsmoor, it was a very difficult area but it was a minority of individuals that caused the difficulties.
“The area is now one to be proud of and the community have made it so. It saddens me to see the closures and I can only wonder what will the young people do without such places as the adventure playground?
“The streets are not enough and you cannot put a price or value on a safe place to play.
“I have been and still am proud to have worked with the people of this community and they make this a wonderful place it is.”
Users group chair Laura Watkins said: “Alan has been an amazing officer and has made a considerable difference in the Burngreave area we just wanted to give him the credit he deserves for all his hard work.”
Patrick Meleady, who works in communities across Sheffield, added: “It is really sad to hear of PCAlan Hancock retiring and he will be sadly be missed.
“Alan has worked tirelessly over the years in schools and on hundreds of community projects to educate children, young people and families on the dangers and consequences of becoming engaged in crime and criminality. This has helped to make Sheffield one of the safest largest cities in our country.
“Alan has been a source of strength for individuals and communities and he has continually demonstrated selfless acts of kindness. It is no coincidence that Sheffield is such a vibrant safe place when we have committed officers such as Alan persuading all manner of people to choose the right path.”
Pc Hancock, who was born in Grimesthorpe, has worked extensively with young people in the north of the city, including on projects deterring youngsters from knife crime and gang-related activity.
He thought up the character of Pc Bill to present a friendly face of the police to younger children and created a board game that introduced crime prevention messages in a fun way.