Case study: 'Breck’s last game' film goes viral

A decision by police comms chiefs to create a controversial film depicting the final days of a young schoolboy lured to his death via a gaming platform paid off, with ‘Breck’s last game’ going viral.

The actor playing Breck Bednar in Breck’s Last Game (credit: Affixxius Films/Leicestershire Police)
The actor playing Breck Bednar in Breck’s Last Game (credit: Affixxius Films/Leicestershire Police)

Breck Bednar, 14, pictured, was groomed online by 19-year-old Lewis Daynes, who lured the youngster to his flat in Essex in 2014 and killed him. 

Breck Bednar

Daynes is serving life for Breck’s murder, in what crown prosecutor Jenny Hopkins described as "one of the most cruel, violent and unusual cases we have dealt with".

The murder of the 14-year-old schoolboy from Surrey has become a cautionary tale for teenagers across the country thanks to a campaign involving a number of different police forces.

Dramatised account

Breck’s Last Game, a powerful film charting the teenager’s demise, was produced to warn young boys of the dangers of online grooming.

It contains the chilling voice of Daynes, pictured below, from the recording of the 999 call he made after murdering Breck.

Lewis Daynes

The film was made for Leicestershire Police by Affixxius Films of Loughborough, at a cost of around £30,000.

It was funded by Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach, with contributions from police forces in Essex, Surrey and Northamptonshire.

The four-minutes-and-20-seconds-long film was made with the consent of Breck’s mother, Lorin LaFave, who features in it.

It was the central part of a campaign designed to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation and the risks of online gaming.

Police forces in Essex, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Surrey were involved in the campaign, which highlighted the need for individuals to question who their online friends really are.

It also aimed to raise awareness that some adults exploit gaming platforms to befriend children and groom them.

The campaign was targeted at several different audiences, ranging from boys and young men to teachers, parents and the general public.

It was launched in September 2018, with a series of screenings at secondary schools in the four force areas.

From left: Northamptonshire Police assistant chief constable James Andronov; Northamptonshire police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold; and Lorin LaFave

A cinema in Northampton screened the film when it was launched in 2018

A school resource pack was produced to accompany the film screenings.

And in April 2019 the four police forces used their social media channels to launch the film to a wider audience – making it publicly available online for the first time.

Making an impact

The film has been seen by tens of thousands of pupils at secondary schools as part of their PSHE lessons. In Leicestershire and Northamptonshire alone some 46,000 pupils had seen it by the end of June 2019.

And it went viral among the public, with more than one million views within a week of it being released online last April. The film has been watched by millions of people to date and has won several awards in the past year, including a silver award at the Cannes Corporate Media and TV Awards.

The film has also prompted a significant amount of engagement by people on social media.

But most significantly, police have reported an increased number of referrals to child and sexual exploitation teams. 

In Northamptonshire alone, reports of suspected victims of child sexual exploitation have risen by 20 per cent.

Catherine Oakes, head of media services, Leicestershire Police, said: “The feedback we’ve had from supporters, parents and educators has been overwhelmingly positive. Everybody involved is immensely proud the film is reaching teenagers who could be at risk of grooming and exploitation.”

The campaign has been praised by Breck’s mother for its “positive impact". 

She added: “Parents and educators alike have been supportive of this tool to educate and empower young people to keep safer online by recognising signs of grooming and exploitation through gaming relationships. Although hard hitting, pupils are engaged with the realness of the film as much of their lives are played out online as Breck’s was.”

LaFave commented: “The overall message of the film, ‘do you really know your online friends?’ makes a lasting impression on young people to help them make safer choices for themselves online.”

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