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Is sport the answer to tackling violent crime on Merseyside?

The conference will aim to discuss ways of using sport as a way to inspire young people. Credit: Merseyside Police

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner is uniting with sporting organisations and football legends to host a major conference examining how the sports sector can help to prevent violent crime.

Jane Kennedy is working with Merseyside Police, the European Healthy Stadia Network and a host of Merseyside-based sports organisations to hold a sector-wide seminar ‘Reducing Violent Crime within Merseyside: the role of sports sector’ at Goodison Park today.

The event, which is being supported by Liverpool F.C legends Jamie Carragher and Ian Rush and Everton Football Club ambassadors Graham Stuart and Ian Snodin, will engage with 100 representatives from sports clubs and bodies of all sizes and types across Merseyside looking at how they can work with the newly-formed Violence Reduction Unit to help prevent young people getting drawn into crime.

The Violence Reduction Unit is being established after the Police Commissioner and Merseyside Police secured £3.37m from the Home Office to adopt a new public health-focussed approach to tackling serious violence in Merseyside. The new unit brings together local police, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key stakeholders to understand the causes of serious violence in Merseyside and agree a co-ordinated, evidence-based response.

The funding will be used on a number of short and long-term projects aimed at diverting people away from violence, including projects aimed at intervening when children are at risk of being excluded from school, criminal exploitation or committing serious violence.

Jane said:

Sport has the power to reach people of all ages and backgrounds, especially young people.

“We want to harness that power to inspire young people to choose positive activities that raise their aspirations, skills and goals and guide them away from making poor life choices.

“Here in Merseyside our sports clubs – from our world famous football teams to our boxing gyms, gymnastic classes, and martial arts clubs – already do fantastic work in the community, but we have only scratched the surface of the potential they hold. There is no doubt they have a massive role to play in this new approach and now is the right time to expand their involvement as a powerful and positive force for good.

“Through this event, I hope we will discover opportunities to work more closely together to enhance the access to sport for young people.”

– Jane Kennedy