Trouble hot-spot kicked into touch

Crime prevention: PC David Gaskill in Moss Side

Crime prevention: PC David Gaskill in Moss Side

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Police have credited a children’s football team for reducing the amount of anti-social behaviour in a troubled area of Leyland.

Officers formed the Moss Side Dynamos in 2007, and since then, the number of calls made to police about anti-social behaviour in the area has dropped by 193 complaints.

PC David Gaskill, Moss Side’s Community Beat Manager for the Leyland Neighbourhood Police Team, believes the under 10s football team has a lot to do with the decline.

He said: “It’s about giving the children something to do, and getting them interested in something like sport before they hit the age where they might otherwise be swayed towards anti-social behaviour.”

Police received 501 calls about unruly behaviour between the year the team was launched and 2008, but that has gradually dropped to 308.

“It’s been a very successful way of tackling the problem in Moss Side,”

PC Gaskill said. “There are about three boys in the team who have been involved since the start, when they were just aged seven.

“The rest have left while others have joined, and those who have moved on have managed to keep out of trouble too, which is great.

“It just goes to show what can happen if you point them in the right direction, and they’re all great kids.”

The 12 boys meet every week at St James’ Primary School on Slater Lane, and PC Gaskill is keen for more girls to get involved.

He said: “We’ve had a lot of girls join the team in the past, but at the moment it’s just boys.

“We’d like to push forward to get more girls involved again, because I think women’s football is becoming quite popular now.”

Police visit schools to hand out leaflets about the team.