Police sponsor cricket festival for Redditch youngsters
On 11 February, West Mercia Police funded a fantastic day of cricket and community cohesion for participants at the Redditch Wicketz hub. As well as a brilliant cricket tournament, held at Trinity High School and Sixth Form, Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Anwaar 'Mo' Mohammed also delivered an awareness workshop on hate crime to the 28 participants.
This is the latest development in a fantastic partnership between West Mercia Police and Wicketz in Redditch. The hub, which has a core of 30-35 regular participants, already benefits from Mo working as a coach at taster sessions in schools and at weekly hub sessions.
The competition on the day saw four teams, formed out of the participants, battle it out with 'The Spartans' emerging victorious. There were awards for best bowler and batsman on the day chosen by the Mo, which went to Tawqeer Mahmood and Abdullah Zahir respectively.
For the police, working in the very informal environment of Wicketz, allows the officers to get close to parts of the Redditch community they often struggled to gain access to, particularly those from the large and at times ostracised South Asian community.
Police Inspector Mark Chappell, says he's been staggered by the results that he has seen in crime figures since Wicketz started in Redditch in 2016: "It's made a massive difference, Wicketz is of immeasurable value in helping form a bridge in the community, and the difference this programme has made to crime figures in this area is remarkable. We had a problem with fireworks being thrown into public places, some of those involved are now helping to coach. All our problems just went away in one go - all from a cricket programme."
Harry Kitchen, Wicketz Development Officer for Worcestershire and Warwickshire, added: "We want to say a big thank you to Redditch Police for sponsoring the event and thank you to PCSO Mo for spending his Sunday playing with the young people and also delivering a hate crime awareness talk. We thought it was a brilliant day and we will look to do another festival in the near future."