Young would-be policeman up for award

A teenager who is determined to become a policeman after watching his mum attacked by an ex-partner is up for a top award for his efforts to show that youths - and men - are not all bad.

A teenager who is determined to become a policeman after watching his mum attacked by an ex-partner is up for a top award for his efforts to show that youths - and men - are not all bad.

Max Whittred, 13, has been nominated for a Norfolk and Suffolk Young People of the Year award for his work with the police youth panel.

The youngster joined the group, which aims to improve the relationship between the police and young people, late last year because he wanted to get involved with the force.

His interest in the police began aged six when he witnessed his mum, Georgina Whittred, being physically and mentally abused by a former partner.

The teenager, who lives in the Aylsham area, said: 'He used to beat my mum up. He was really nasty to my mum and it made me think to myself 'Is this what all men are like?' But it's not.

'I love the idea of cleaning up the streets and having a positive attitude instead of a negative one.'

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Mrs Whittred said Max saw some harrowing sights which left him suffering night terrors - but had always tried to protect his mum.

The 28-year-old, who has been married to Adrian Whittred, 29, for nearly four years, said: '[My partner] threw me down the stairs. Max witnessed that.

'Max is very fearless. He would try to intervene. He was only six at the time. I would take the argument away from him, it would turn nasty, and Max would ring 999 or my mum to get help.'

But Max, who has two sisters Sapphira, six, and Willow, three, has decided to use the experience positively and has high aspirations for a future career with the police.

He would eventually like to work as a homicide detective in America.

In the meantime he has been volunteering with the youth panel every six weeks and will soon be helping out with a 'mystery shopper' investigation by the police.

He added: 'At the end of June I went to Newmarket to speak to people to do with the terrorism side of the force. We discussed issues with young Muslims today that have experienced problems with the police and how life is for them after 9/11.'

Max was nominated for a May Gurney Young People of the Year award, which is supported by Norfolk and Suffolk police, by his mum and grandmother Sue Wymer.

She said she was proud of her grandson. 'In these days of 'the young gone bad', Max is a shining example of why the youngsters need encouragement and praise to attain a good future and be a valued member of society,' she said.

Nominations for the awards close in late October ahead of a ceremony in November and winners will receive a slice of a �4,000 prize fund.

For more information or to nominate someone aged 10-25 visit www.yopey.org

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