South Shields mum's thankful letter praises police for saving her son from life of crime

A mum has thanked police for giving her son a pep talk which saved she says a 'good lad' from heading down the wrong path.

By Poppy Kennedy
Thursday, 28 February, 2019, 11:20
PCSO Mark Halliday (left) and PCSO Steve Graham

The mum was fearful her 15-year-old son was heading towards a life of crime when he became embroiled in alcohol and drug misuse last year.

The parent, who lives in South Shields, noticed the A* student’s grades had started to plummet and his behaviour worsen as he began spending time with a new group of older friends.

PCSO Mark Halliday (left) and PCSO Steve Graham

But after receiving an inspirational pep talk from two Community Support Officers (PCSO) in South Shields, the teenager has responded positively both at school and at home.

The thankful mum wrote a heartfelt letter to police to praise the positive influence PCSO Steve Graham and PSCO Mark Halliday had on her son.

She said: “It’s nice to give praise where it’s due as you really did help me to turn this around and save a good lad from the wrong path.

“Not enough people in this world get praised for their compassion and hard work. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

The mum, who wished to remain anonymous, explained how her son was well-behaved growing up but then suddenly hit a hurdle during his adolescence.

In a matter of six weeks, his behaviour took an unexpected nose-dive.

She said he had always been a lovely, happy and respectful boy but after her and his dad had divorced he became increasing subdued.

She said: “It started slowly, but he soon went from the perfect child in school to somebody who didn’t seem to care too much about his morals, his upbringing or anybody around him.

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“As a parent, I was really worried. I didn’t know if he was being pressurised or influenced, but I knew that without some kind of early intervention he was at risk of going off the rails.”

One night last summer, the mother spoke to police and received a visit from PCSO Graham and PCSO Halliday.

They returned to the house a few days later to sit down with the teenager and chat to him about his spiralling behaviour.

“I don’t know what I expected to happen, I just hoped a little lightbulb would light up in his head and he’d listen and take on-board what the officers were saying, said the concerned mum.

“Since then, he’s been doing amazing – head down, hasn’t touched alcohol and has been studying hard to get into sixth form. His grades are right up there again – and I think a massive part of that was down to those officers who gave up their time on that evening.

“They’ve rescued my son, I genuinely mean that. He was going down a path that would’ve affected his entire life – so that’s why I decided to write the letter, just as a way of saying thanks."

PCSO Graham, who has been with the Force for five years, says he’s pleased that the teenager has taken the advice on-board.

He said: “We deal with a number of young people every day and the overwhelming majority are no trouble at all.

“However, you do realise that 13, 14, 15 – it is such a crucial age in a young man or woman’s life, and the decisions they make can have a big effect on the direction they go later in life.

“We just sat down with the lad and chewed the fat, spoke about some of his decisions and the reality of what could happen if he continued to go down that path in terms of his career, his future and the possible effect it could have on his family too.”

PCSO Halliday, who has served with Northumbria Police for 10 years, added: “I’m really pleased that he’s taken our advice on-board, and hope he can continue to make a positive contribution to the community.”