Police offer boxing training to gain the trust of young people in Sutton
Officers from the Ashfield Operation Reacher team – who already run a weekly children’s football session at Sutton Lawn – now hold regular boxing lessons at the Sutton Boxing Academy with club volunteers.
The sessions, supported by the charity Support Through Sport, take place every Tuesday from 7pm to 8pm at the Outram Street club.
Sergeant Paul Peatfield told how he used his time leading the local Reacher team to reach out to local youth and their parents.
He said: ‘Operation Reacher is a proactive policing initiative which has freed up dozens of officers to proactively target local criminals and disrupt their activity.
“A big part of that job was opening doors and arresting really, really unpleasant people – but it’s also complemented by another part of the work we do to improve our links with the local community.
“We want people to know who we are and trust us to solve the problems that matter to them. This is especially true for young people – especially those who are at risk of going in the wrong direction in their lives.
“So when we were approached by the boxing club to organize these sessions, we jumped at the chance because it’s another regular opportunity to get to know young people and break down some of the barriers that may exist between us.
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“We understand that some young people do not have a positive view of the police for various reasons. So having the opportunity to talk to them face to face and get to know them is invaluable.
“From the football sessions that we have organised, we have been really surprised at how effective this approach has been. We have made great strides with some children and also got to know the parents better.
“As a result, they told us more about their problems and we were ready to act accordingly. We prosecuted the drug traffickers only because of the information we received as a result.
“And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about turning kids into boxers – it’s about giving them the opportunity to try something new and get to know them better.
Peter Billings, owner of the academy, said: “I started the gym a few years ago because I wanted to give something back to the community.
“Tackling knife crime and giving children an outlet through sport is really important to me and when I heard about what the police were doing locally with the football sessions I felt like getting involved. involve and help.
“Boxing is a great sport that also promotes fitness and wellbeing – it’s great to have the police involved in this way because at the end of the day we all want the same thing – to build community better and safer place.”