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Community football match to strengthen relationships with Southend's young offenders

Community football match to strengthen relationships with Southend's young offenders
A community football match has been set up to help strengthen relationships between officers and teenagers who are getting help from Southend’s youth offending team.

Teams made up from Southend’s Community Policing Team, Southend Council’s youth offending team and young people will play in a football event at Chase High School, in Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff, on Wednesday 14 August.

Inspector Ian Hughes said: "It is important that we maintain engagement with our young people, this doesn't always need to be in a formal environment and from experience positive changes can often come from the unlikeliest situations.“Showing officers are human too and they are far more than just a person in a uniform.

"This may lead to a change of a young person's perception of policing and in turn could influence future decisions they make. This is a great opportunity, and thank you to the Southend Community Safety Partnership for funding it."

The aim of the match is to show young people that our officers are approachable and that they can talk to them in confidence about any problems that they may wish to share.

The match will include messages around the risks of getting involved with knife crime and gangs.

By showing that our officers are approachable and engaging, we hope this will challenge perceptions that they just criminal catchers.

Councillor Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety and customer contact, said: “We are pleased the Community Safety Partnership could fund this event and we have a team of community safety officers ready to play in the tournament. Aside from being a good opportunity for some team-bonding, it will hopefully help us break down some perceptions of what the community safety team are on patrol to do.

"They are there to keep everyone safe and well by providing a uniformed presence in our High Streets, tackling issues such as anti-social behaviour, aggressive begging and helping the public out whenever necessary.

"Hopefully the football tournament will help the community safety team build relationships with the young people playing, so we can work with them in the future.”

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