Police use football initiative in Bedford schools to break down barriers

The aim of the initiative is to break down barriers and strengthen relationships between younger communities and the police.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 5:25 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 5:26 pm

Bedfordshire Police is using a new football initiative to engage with younger people at schools in Bedford.

The Bedford Community Policing team organised football matches with a number of local secondary schools in order to break down barriers and strengthen relationships between younger communities and the police.

Officers started the initiative earlier this month, the first was with Daubeney Academy last Wednesday (June 9), and their second match was on Monday, June 14, with Kempston Challenger Academy.

Inspector Sam Hunt organises the football matches
Inspector Sam Hunt organises the football matches

Inspector Sam Hunt from the Bedford Community Policing team said: “Engaging with the young people in our area is extremely important to us and these football matches are already showing they are a brilliant way to do that.

“It’s been a great way to talk to the teenagers about the police, build trust and confidence in us so that they know we are there for them if they ever need us.

“It’s also a good way for us to address serious issues that could impact their lives such as knife crime or county lines.

"The youth of today are aware of these issues and may even be exposed to them, so it’s important we start talking so we can help protect them and help them make positive choices.

Bedford Community Policing team and Kempston Challenger Academy

“I’d like to thank the schools and the children for the opportunity for us to do this, it’s been fantastic to work so closely with them and have a bit of fun - especially after the year we’ve all had.”

Police Constable Viv Dady, from the education and diversion team at Bedfordshire Police, said: “I work closely with the schools in Bedford, who are full of brilliant young people.

“It’s so important for us to show them that we are just normal people doing a job to help try and keep them safe.

"We want young people to be able to speak to us about any worries they may have and break down any barriers that could stop that.

Bedford Community Policing team warming up

“These young people are the future of our community and we want to make sure they feel empowered and supported by their local officers.”

If you’re interested in taking part in a youth engagement event then please contact [email protected].

For more information about all forms of exploitation linked to organised crime please visit the Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation campaign website.

The Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit supports people affected by gangs, knife crime and county lines.

If you have any issues or concerns you’d like to share with your local policing team you can report these through Bedfordshire Police’s online reporting tool.