Local Officers Take on Shrewsbury Youngsters

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Local Officers Take on Shrewsbury Youngsters

Posted: 12/05/2008 18:55:07

Shrewsbury’s local police and community support officers are breaking down barriers with youngsters across the area through football.

Officers from local police teams across the borough have formed a football squad who play against teams made up of local teenagers.

Matches are usually played on the Power League Pitches at Shrewsbury Town’s new stadium in Oteley Road, with young people from Cressage, Meole and Condover, amongst others, having already taken on the officers.

The Local Police team has also recently become fully affiliated with the Football Association and plan to hold more regular games in the future.

Community Support Officer Dave Baron, who has organised games against Cressage and the Priory College in Condover (a school for young people with Autism and Aspergers), said that without exception the matches had been very well received.

“Every team has asked us when the next match is. In fact, I can’t walk down the road in Cressage without one of the youngsters asking when we’re playing them again,” he said.

“The Priory College was particularly impressed with us, as often the only contact some of its students might have with us can be negative, but the games were a real eye opener for them.

“Recently we lost to Cressage but won against the kids from Meole and The Priory, and matches continue to be arranged, although at the moment on an ad-hoc basis.

“The idea came about because we wanted to do something which appealed to a lot of younger people to try and engage with them, and football came across as the thing most were interested in. A lot of the CSOs and LPOs are also keen on the game so it seemed the perfect way to get involved.

“At the moment, our team tends to be made up of whoever is available to play on the day but there are some regulars, including CSOs Mike Osborn, Dave Bryant, Jamie Adams and Joe Bradley to name a few and who are even willing to give up their time off to play if needed.

“It’s proving a really good way for us to get to know the young people and get them involved in something that’s fun. The officers enjoy it as much as the youngsters.”

The team is hoping to arrange a tournament between various local young teams and make the matches more regular in the coming months.

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