The challenge

Levels of knife crime are at an all time high in Hertfordshire with 3281 knife offences recorded over a 3-year period from 2016. This reflects a national trend of knife crime which has seen almost every police force in the country dealing with a rise of knife related incidents. Hertfordshire, however, has seen the most rise of any police force in the county for knife crime with a 293% increase in offences over the past five years according to Home Office statistics.

This also includes the horrendous statistic, that in 2018 in Hertfordshire, five 14-year-olds were charged with murder. This puts into perspective the scale of the problem in the county and the damage that is being done to local communities and families. The Hertfordshire Health Related Behaviour Survey, carried out in 2016, showed that 25% of secondary pupil’s self–reported that they carry a weapon or something else for protection.

We feel that by working closely with partners across the county, such as Hertfordshire Constabulary, Families First, Targeted Youth Support teams and YC Hertfordshire, we can help to end this wave of youth violence. We have recently been awarded funding by the Sport England Satellite Club programme which will allow us to put into action a project to use sport as a tool to help combat knife crime and improve the lives of vulnerable young people in the county.

What we are doing

Using this funding, we have developed Sporting Chance, a project to help tackle this growing problem through sport.

Working through local boxing clubs, we propose to run ten boxing sessions in the county – this is a direct response to insight gleaned from young people which identified boxing as an activity they would like to participate in.

As boxing will not necessarily appeal to all young people, a secondary offer of multi sport sessions, along with music and food, will be delivered at existing youth centres by a mixture of youth workers, sports coaches and musical leads respectively.

Finally, whilst the statistics highlight that it is predominantly males who are the perpetrators of gang and knife crime, we are acutely aware that there is risk of girls becoming embroiled in criminality; either in the gang culture or for sexual exploitation. Therefore, we are developing female specific sessions in three areas of the county, Hertsmere, Welwyn Hatfield and Stevenage, where insight has indicated there is a need for a girl’s project.

ActivityVenueDayTimeContact
BoxingSt Mary's Academy, BroxbourneWed3.30-5.30pmCharlie Mann
c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
BoxingHemel Hempstead Boxing ClubSat10-11amCharlie Mann
c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
BoxingSimon Balle School, HertfordFri4-6pmCharlie Mann
c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
BoxingBrookside Boys Club, BorehamwoodWed5.30-6.30pmCharlie Mann
c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
BoxingThe Links Academy, St AlbansMon12.30-1.30pmCharlie Mann
c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
BoxingStevenage Amateur Boxing ClubMon5-6pmCharlie Mann
c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
BoxingWatford Amateur Boxing ClubWed5-6pmCharlie Mann
c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
Xtreme SportsXC, Jarman Park, Hemel HempsteadWed7-8pmCharlie Mann
c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
MultisportWodson Park, WareFri8-9pmCharlie Mann
c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
MultisportBushey Powerleague, BorehamwoodThurs4.30-5.30pmDaniel Proberts
Daniel.proberts@watfordfc.com
MultisportWoodside Leisure Centre, WatfordFri7-8pmDaniel Proberts
Daniel.proberts@watfordfc.com
MultisportBarclay School, StevenageThurs5-6.30pmLorna Wormald
lornaw@stevenagefc.com
Multisport
*Female only session
Ridgeway Academy, Welwyn Garden CityFri7-9pmLorna Wormald
lornaw@stevenagefc.com

This project is set to run from 1st April 2019 until 31st March 2021 and we are currently looking to establish a pilot project to assess the impact and success of the programme before a county wide roll out in April.

For further information about this programme please contact:

Charlie Mann
E: c.mann3@herts.ac.uk
T: 01707 285026