Sport helps reduce anti-social behaviour in South Yorkshire

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A police-run sports project in South Yorkshire is thought to be responsible for a drop in anti-social behaviour in five communities.

SportFX South Yorkshire, set up by South Yorkshire Police in 2010, offers free football, boxing and dancing sessions to young people across the county.

There is also a chance for those involved to gain recognised qualifications.

An examination of youth-related anti-social behaviour in a 1km radius around six venues where sports sessions are held revealed reductions of up to 74 per cent around five of them.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “SportFXSY is an invaluable project that has made great strides in uniting communities and empowering young people.

“To see that incidents of antisocial behaviour have reduced in a number of the areas that we run sessions is a fantastic achievement and we should celebrate the young people involved who attend week in week out to take part.

“I know that SportFXSY relies on volunteers and sponsorship so well done to everybody involved for ensuring that this project continues to provide an excellent opportunity for our young people.”

The statistics compare figures from October 2013 to September 2014 and October 2014 to September 2015.

Police Community Support Officer Craig Butcher, the head of SportFXSY, said: “While we can not say that the reductions are fully attributable to SportFXSY, it is a good sign that our sessions are having an impact.

“The focus of SportFXSY however is engagement and positive changes in the behaviour of the young people who take part. The relationships we have developed are one of the most successful aspects of the project.”