A courageous ten-year-old who has battled brain tumours since the age of three was given VIP treatment on a special tour of the force.

Police fan James Copping, from Kelvedon, visited the firearms unit and made a mock arrest with the team.

He was also shown how to search a property by police dog Chester, and got the chance to meet Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington.

James also enjoyed time in the Essex Police Museum and met retired police dog Baloo – the force's mascot.

He joined Policing Minister Kit Malthouse MP, the Bishop of Colchester Roger Morris, and Essex’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst as one of the special guests at a passing out parade for new officers on Friday.

In his speech at the event, Mr Harrington described James as an “inspirational young man”.

James was first diagnosed with a tumour in 2014, news that his mum, Natalie, described as “horrendous”.

The tumour was removed during a life-saving operation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. But a scan following the surgery revealed another slow-growing area of concern.

James is now under the care of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

In March 2020, doctors revealed the area they were monitoring had got smaller and told the family they wouldn’t need to continue seeing James.

But in April, James started to have headaches and issues swallowing so he remains under the hospital’s care.

James, who is the youngest of four children, has a feeding tube into his stomach and epilepsy.

However, he doesn’t let his health concerns stop him.

Braintree and Witham Times: Proud - James meets members of the firearms teamProud - James meets members of the firearms team

Natalie said: “He’s done amazingly well over the last seven years. He just gets on with it. He’s heavily reliant on tube feeds as since the surgery his appetite has been non-existent, but he’s into football – he supports Manchester City like his older brother – and likes Lego, Minecraft and playing Fifa on Xbox.

“He also loves school. He gets tired but always tries his hardest.”

Natalie said James is already proudly showing his dad the police goodies he’d been given.

She said: “He’s quiet and shy but as soon as he got home he put on all the stuff the officers gave him – hats, a jacket, a goody bag from Baloo, a bag of gifts from the museum - he was spoilt!

“Meeting Baloo was probably his favourite thing, but he also really enjoyed the firearms scenario they played out where they made him arrest someone with a toy gun.”

James’s visit was made possible by Sergeant Rob Edgar.

Rob lost his wife Gemma, a paediatric nurse at Colchester General Hospital, to a brain tumour in 2018. She was 33-years-old.

His son Noah, seven, has also suffered from cancer. He now has a prosthetic eye after developing retinoblastoma.

“I became aware of James and his ongoing fight because Noah was going through a similar experience with a cancer at the same time,” said Rob.

“He really liked the police, so we invited him to Colchester Police Station. From there we’ve stayed in touch.

“James is an inspiration for what he’s gone through and how hard he’s fought. He’s done exceptionally well.

“He’s incredibly resilient - the whole family are. I’ve been there with the struggles of having of child with cancer and it’s tough.

“For me, it’s all about giving to back to little heroes, to let them know what they’ve done is amazing.”