Northampton

Superheroes 'take over' police tweets against child sex exploitation

Superhero Twitter profile images Image copyright Twitter/Northants Police
Image caption The chief of Northamptonshire's police has become Batgirl, while the campaign's founder is Spider Man

A police chief has become "Batgirl" and hundreds of others have changed their twitter images to superheroes to support an officer's campaign against child sexual exploitation (CSE).

PC Rob Stevens, a neighbourhood officer from Northamptonshire Police, asked people to change their pictures and use the hashtag #Superhero17.

Senior Met officers are among those whose images have changed.

The week-long campaign is being supported across the UK and abroad.

Image copyright Twitter/Norfolk Police
Image caption Norfolk Police see themselves as Marvel's Avengers, while their chief constable is now Superman

PC Stevens launched his first social media campaign to raise awareness of issues surrounding the sexual exploitation of children two years ago.

More on this and other super news from Northamptonshire

Hundreds joined in from as far afield as Canada, the US and Australia.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Avon and Somerset's police and crime commissioner has chosen Supergirl and Fulham Town Police have gone a fetching shade of Hulk green
Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Supergirl was also the choice of Leicester City Police while a Met Police commander has opted for Batman

"I hope this year we'll reach even more people," PC Stevens said.

"I urge social media users to get creative in choosing their superhero - which could be a cartoon character or somebody who inspires them... and to circulate messages which raise awareness of CSE - how to spot it, how to prevent it and how to get help and support."

His chief constable, Simon Edens, was one of the first to change his Twitter avatar and is now a rather fetching pink Lego Batgirl.

Police across England to follow suit so far include Norfolk Police, Wiltshire, Leicester and Fulham Town's officers.

Dozens of other officers across the UK have also changed their individual accounts, choosing superheroes as diverse as Bananaman, Danger Mouse and characters from Marvel's Avengers.

Image copyright Northants Police
Image caption When not orchestrating a superhero takeover of social media, PC Rob Stevens is based in the community in Wellingborough

PC Stevens, an officer working in the community in Wellingborough, said issues surrounding child sexual exploitation were "close to his heart".

His campaign is "not just for police", he said, saying he hoped it would bring the subject to the forefront of people's thoughts.

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