A Surrey Police Officer has written a heartfelt letter to the Daily Mail following their coverage of some charity work that was done by Officers from Surrey Police in order to help raise some money for homeless people.
Neighbourhood Officers from Surrey Police had got together with a local business in order to try and raise some money for vulnerable homeless families who have had to endure some bitterly cold conditions.
Reigate and Banstead Police partnered up with ‘Truly Magical Princess Parties’ to ‘act out’ the arrest of the ‘Elsa’ character from the hugely popular Disney Film ‘Frozen’.
The aim of the campaign was that ‘Elsa’ needed to raise £1000 in order to be ‘bailed’ from Police custody after she ‘admitted’ to being responsible for the recent cold weather.
The campaign received some fantastic feedback from both charities and members of the public who thought that the idea and concept was fantastic and many people also commented on how great it was that officers, in their spare time, were helping out the most vulnerable members of their local communities.
A Just Giving page (see below) was set up in order to raise £1000 for Street Link and East Surrey Outreach who both do some wonderful work looking after homeless people in the area.
But a headline that was run by the Daily Mail, eluded to the fact that the Police & Crime Commissioner for Surrey Police had stated that officers were ‘overstretched’ and many saw this as ridiculing the police for getting involved with charitibe work.
In response to their article, PC Knowles, who had been involved in the ‘arrest’ of Elsa, sent the following letter to Rory Tingle, the reporter who had published the story:
“Dear Rory, I am the officer involved in this charity appeal, my name is PC KNOWLES 40393 based at Reigate Police Station and have served with Surrey Police for the last 8 years and have recently got involved in running the social media page and do a lot of work in my spare time.
“I am really saddened and disappointed to see your article regarding our attempts to raise awareness and funds for our homeless charities ‘Surrey Outreach’ and ‘StreetLink’.
“I am somewhat perplexed at how you have managed to make something quite positive into something so negative.
“I am emailing you (on my day off) as I do not believe you were in possession of the full facts before publishing this story and to my knowledge no one has contacted me or our press office for any clarification or facts prior to the release of this article.
“I would appreciate if you could include these facts in the article for the sake of the charities.
“The negative spin on this could seriously damage our fundraising attempts and I believe such negativity could hinder the number of donations received.
“There are a few points which I believe have been overlooked by your post.
“Last week I was contacted by Becca (Elsa) from ‘Truly Magical Princess Parties’ who asked if we would be interested in doing this after she saw a similar post by cops in America.
“I agreed it would be a good idea and after getting approval from my Inspector and our Media Relations team we arranged to meet at a disused police station in Horley at
“The crux of the issue here is that I assisted with this photo shoot in MY own time, using MY break time.
“I am fully entitled by Police Regulations to a full 60 minutes uninterrupted break during my 10+ hours shift to be taken away from Police work (which my colleagues and I rarely get to take in full) and so used MY time to assist with this fundraiser.
“It took about 20 minutes in total to get some quick photographs.
“During those 20 minutes I am confident that no one died or was a victim of a crime as a result of my taking part in this, however had I been needed elsewhere you can clearly see I had my radio on (earpiece in) and was ready to respond to any calls that required my attendance.
“No calls required my attendance between 16:00 – 16:20 hours on that day and I can assure you that my involvement in this charitable act did not lead to anybody dying, being victim of crime however I wholeheartedly believe that the number of donations likely to be received, despite the negativity you have drawn to this, will outweigh any risk the public may have faced whilst I was on my break.
“I’d like to further add that this is something that was carefully considered prior to taking part in it, part of my job is to weigh up risk and I felt this would not be an issue and neither did my supervisors or the duty inspector.
“I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this so please feel free to contact me.
Yours sincerely, Police Constable Carl Knowles Surrey Police”.
The ‘Bail Out Elsa’ campaign is hoping to raise £1,000 and they are currently on £232.50p!
It would be nice to maybe see a contribution being made by Rory Tingle, the reporter who wrote the article for the Daily Mail (or perhaps even the Daily Mail themselves might like to make a donation…).
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