Everton Ambassador Ian Snodin attended an Anti-Knife crime football tournament organised by Merseyside Police.
The special initiative at Leasowe Leisure Centre, was designed to encourage positive and friendly engagement between young people and the police.
Consisting of eight teams of six, aged between 13 and 17 - including a guest team made up of local Police officers - the tournament followed an anti-knife crime initiative in the Wirral area known as OP SPECTRE. The tournament brought young people and the local police force together to help change the perception of law enforcement and address the incidents of knife violence and their devastating effects on our region.
Everton Ambassador Ian Snodin showed his support to the initiative by attending the tournament and handing out a number of prizes to representatives of the various teams.
All teams involved played in specially designed kits with different coloured shirts emblazoned with the message #BLADEFREE.
Representing Everton, and the Club’s support for the relationship-building tournament, Ian Snodin said: “It’s been a real pleasure to attend this event. Knife-crime is not only a topical issue on Merseyside but across the country and it has been really insightful to see the work being done by Merseyside Police and the positive response they are getting from the local young people.
“Projects like this just show how much football can bring people and communities together and how our game can be used to help address serious messages. Hopefully the young people that leave here today have understood the true impact knife crime can have on not only the victim and the perpetrator but their friends and family."
Sergeant Andy Schofield said: “I was really pleased to see the turnout at our anti-knife crime football tournament and I want to thank everyone that had a role in organising and attending the event. It is great to host activities like this, get to know the young people in our community and raise awareness of knife crime in a more relaxed and friendly environment.
“Our collaborative #BladeFree campaign is specifically designed to help young people steer clear of knife crime and other serious violence by supporting initiatives like this and providing other support and opportunities through activities such as music, sport and theatre to build confidence, aspiration and improve practical skills and employability.
“Running community events like this is great but it is also accompanied by our operational activity where we continue to conduct a number of open land searches, stop searches, targeted operations and high visibility patrols, as well as working closely with our communities, schools and safeguarding partners.
“Knife crime is so dangerous, and it is important that we work together to shout about these dangers and long-term consequences carrying or using a knife can bring as well as celebrating our young people and the positive activities they are involved in.”
The initiative, backed by a large number of Wirral stakeholders, also included the support of a local foodbank to support parents and families living in the area ahead of Christmas.