Three 15-year-olds from Thetford are the first recipients of police certificates recognising ‘honourable behaviour’ among young people.
Jack Hutcherson, Harry Cromwell and Jack Austin, who live on the Abbot Farm estate, have been presented with Positive Notices after earning praise on Facebook for running after a woman to return the purse she had left in the town’s Subway takeaway.
The Positive Notice pilot, developed by Norfolk Police with Breckland District Council and Norfolk Fire Service, with county businesses also supporting the reward scheme, only began on October 24.
The boys feel it will encourage youngsters to do the right thing, but reward was the last thing they expected.
Jack Austin said: “We just wanted the woman to get her money back.”
His friend Jack said she did not hear them calling her, so he ran after her with the purse.
He added: “She just looked happy she’d got it back.”
But a man who saw what they did praised them on a Thetford Facebook group, which drew 300 comments.
Jack Austin’s mum Lynn saw it on Facebook. She said: “I called jack down and asked if he’d seen it and he said ‘it was us’.
“So many people are saying what we need to do is not just write off the kids in this age group. Their age range needs to be recognised more for doing the right thing, but we also have so many youngsters in Thetford who are carers and who volunteer.”
All three go to Thetford Academy whose senior assistant principal Iain Mackintosh said: “This is rewards week in school, recognising achievements, so this ties in with recognising how good the young people of Thetford are – they prove it day in, day out and don’t get recognised enough.”
The boys all received certificates and chose tickets for the town’s soon to be opened cinema as rewards. Subway added vouchers after hearing about it.
PC Amy Lucas, Breckland Engagement Officer, said: “Personally, I found issuing these tickets a great experience. Going to their homes and seeing how proud their parents were of their behaviour made me extremely proud and privileged to issue the notice.”
Project lead, Inspector Becky Cant, said: “The actions of the boys would have gone relatively unnoticed if it wasn’t for this new scheme.”