Northamptonshire Police work on new film to protect boys from grooming
A short film about a teenage boy who was groomed and murdered is being produced to help raise awareness among boys of the dangers of child sexual exploitation.
The film about Surrey teenager Breck Bednar is being made between four UK police forces. Northamptonshire, Surrey and Essex Police forces have combined in the project, which is being managed by Leicestershire Police, who made the award-winning film Kayleigh’s Love Story.
The film is being made with the active support of Breck’s mother Lorin LeFave, who will appear as herself in the film and who set up the Breck Foundation shortly after her son’s tragic death in 2014.
The film comes two years after Leicestershire Police produced Kayleigh’s Love Story, a film about the grooming, rape and murder of 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood, which has led directly to 50 children in Leicestershire coming forward and disclosing that they were being groomed by predators.
The film has been viewed by an estimated 36.6m people worldwide and has won eight national industry awards.
Breck’s mother Lorin said: “When I first learned about Kayleigh’s tragic story of grooming online, and saw the amazing short film Kayleigh’s Love Story, I knew I wanted similar exposure for Breck’s tragedy as I believe only through education of grooming and exploitation can we strive to empower our young people to keep safer online.
“Because the characteristics of grooming are similar, with the control, manipulation, befriending, compliments, gifts, building a relationship through shared interests and laughs, I felt that a boy’s version with gaming and computing was a natural follow on to Kayleigh’s version of a girl being groomed through social media for a relationship.
“I am so thankful to Leicestershire Police and the other police forces for enabling this film to happen and I look forward to working together to create a safer online for our children.“
It is being funded by Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach.
Matt Tapp, director of strategic communications at Leicestershire Police, said he hoped the film, to be called “Breck’s Last Game” would be equally successful in raising awareness of CSE.
He said: “During screenings of Kayleigh’s Love Story to parents in Leicestershire, a number talked about Breck’s case.
“Following an initial meeting with Lorin earlier this year, and detailed talks with Surrey, with Essex, and with Northamptonshire with whom we have a joint CSE Communications Strategy, we all decided that we should make a film about what happened to Breck.
“Each of the four forces will decide how best it wishes to disseminate the film, but certainly in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire we hope that, in liaison with schools, we can show it to schoolchildren in controlled screenings as we did with Kayleigh’s Love Story.
“At some point late next year we intend to post the film online, with suitable warnings about its content.”
Following a procurement process, the contract to make Breck’s Last Game has been awarded to Affixxius Films of Loughborough, who also produced Kayleigh’s Love Story.
Casting sessions will be held in January and it is anticipated that the film will be completed by mid-March.
Northamptonshire’s Assistant Chief Constable James Andronov said: “The dangers of online grooming are very real for all children but we know boys and young men are far less likely than girls to report abuse.
"It is crucial we address this so I am very happy to support Breck’s Last Game and I am confident it will go a long way to raise awareness and encourage reporting, emboldening victims of this appalling crime to speak up and seek support”.
PCC Willy Bach said he was proud to support this film, adding: “We all have a responsibility to provide children and young people with the knowledge to protect themselves, whether that is in the street or on-line. It is important that we make this information easy to access and easy to understand, which is why a film is so much more effective.
“It is not just girls who fall victim to this evil, but for too long male victims have been overlooked. It’s hard to believe, but sadly many boys and young male victims actually suffer in silence rather than speak out. This means they don’t receive the appropriate support service to help them recover and, unfortunately, the perpetrator is not brought to justice because no-one knows about the crime.
“It’s time that we shone the spotlight on this type of criminality and encourage victims to speak out, knowing that they will be treated with sensitivity and understanding.”