Fire service and police “knuckle down” to address anti-social behaviour

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) has teamed up with Northumbria Police to launch a new eight-week programme for young people in Sunderland, thanks to funding from England Boxing.

“Knuckle Down – the Pathway to Success” combines frank and honest discussions about the impact of anti-social behaviour with training sessions in the boxing gym at Sunderland Community Hub.

Its aim is to educate 11-16 year olds on issues including knife crime and deliberate fires, whilst giving them the opportunity to have their voices heard and develop new skills. The physical aspects of the programme will not only improve participants’ fitness, but also instil discipline, respect and confidence.

SM Shaun Makin, FF Preston Brown and CSO Alan Posting

Shaun Makin, Sunderland Community Fire Station Manager, said:

“We’ve already seen lots of people benefit from boxing sessions at the Sunderland Community Hub since it opened in May last year. Sport is a powerful tool for diverting young people away from anti-social behaviour and showing them that by working hard, or “knuckling down”, they can achieve success in all aspects of their lives.

As the sessions will be led by emergency service workers, the participants will also benefit from building relationships with positive role models.”

Pupils from local secondary schools took part in the first session on Monday 17 February. Each session is an hour and a half long.

Inspector Jamie Southwell, of Northumbria Police, said: “Anti-social behaviour can have an adverse effect on all communities that we serve and education is crucial in helping young people understand the impact that their actions can have on those around them.

I’m absolutely delighted that this initiative is up and running at Sunderland Community Hub, which gives young people the chance to develop key life skills such as respect, confidence and determination through sport.

The programme also allows officers to work hand-in-hand with these young people to talk openly about key issue such as knife crime, and we hope they in turn can share those important messages with their peers in the community.”