Bognor boy with rare heart condition becomes PC Danny for the day

A young boy from Bognor Regis got to fulfil a dream when he became Sussex Police's newest and youngest recruit.

Friday, 3rd November 2017, 8:26 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:26 am
Danny Herbert and his sister Sky meeting the police dog unit. Sussex Police pictures

Seven-year-old Danny Herbert has always wanted to be a policeman and he was determined not to let his terminal heart condition get in the way of making that a reality.

Joined by his sister Sky, six, and mum Fran, Danny got to ‘make an arrest’ at Chichester Police Station and hold a speed gun before meeting chief constable Giles York at the Sussex Police headquarters.

Chief Inspector Marc Clothier of the Arun district said: “When I was contacted by the Make a Wish charity about Danny, I was really keen to make his dream of becoming a police officer a reality.

Danny meeting chief constable Giles Yorke

“The support and enthusiasm shown by colleagues across the force was amazing and we all really tried to make the day as special as possible.

“Danny had the opportunity to join one of the roads policing units and undertook speed checks in Bognor Regis.

“We knew Danny had always wanted to hold a speed gun, so it was fantastic for us to allow this to happen.”

Young Danny has pulmonary atresia – an extremely rare birth defect involving the heart and lungs.

Swapping ties with DCC OReilly. Sussex Police pictures

Danny’s pulmonary valve was not formed correctly at birth, meaning blood from the right side of the heart is unable to travel to the lungs to collect oxygen before being pumped around the body.

The first part of his day saw him ‘arrest’ a suspicious man who was spotted ‘drawing’ on police cars.

The youngster booked the suspect into custody and escorted him into the cells, where the new recruit gave him a stern telling off.

Afterwards the family were taken to Sussex Police headquarters in Lewes, where they met two firearms officers, the dog unit and chief constable Giles York.

Ch Insp Justin Burtenshaw, pictured with young Danny Herbert from Bognor

Mum Fran said: “It was such a fantastic day for Danny and he truly loved every minute of it.

“Danny has always been interested in the emergency services and he was lucky enough to meet a fireman and this was set up by Tyler’s Trust.

“He has all of the uniforms at home and will often dress up in them for role-play.

“Danny loved being able to hold the speed gun and he was in awe of everyone he met on the day.”

Sharing a hug
'Making an arrest'
Danny, Sky and mum Fran at Sussex Police HQ