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The impact of police forces and football clubs working together to provide a platform for coaching and mentoring for young people who have received a Threat to Life Notice

This project evaluates a mentoring scheme, piloted by Manchester United Youth Foundation in partnership with Greater Manchester Police, that aims to divert vulnerable young people away from crime.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Dr. Ahmed Kadry
Police region
South East
Collaboration and partnership

The Manchester United Foundation and Greater Manchester Police.

Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

Between 2012 and 2014, there was a wave of young people in South Manchester under the age of 18 who had received a Threats to Life Notice from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) due to a credible threat obtained through GMP’s intelligence network. Many of these young people also had associations with organised crime groups in the area, with some also having crimes against their nominal as both victims and offenders.

In 2015, The Manchester United Youth Foundation, the charity arm of Manchester United, began a pilot scheme in partnership with Greater Manchester Police in order to provide avenues for these young people to steer away from their associations with organised crime groups and reduce the possibility of them receiving a Threats to Life Notice in the future.

This research builds on the original pilot by expanding the cohort of young people to include children of parents who have received a Threats to Life Notice from GMP, with the view that such young people are also vulnerable to being exploited for criminal enterprise.

Manchester United is a global brand with huge appeal to many young people around the world. This is particularly true to the Greater Manchester area. As a result, this research seeks to utilise this appeal in providing a platform for young people who have received a Threats to Life Notice and children to parents who have received a Threat to Life Notice, in order to steer them away from potential criminal activity and receive mentoring through football coaching, education and employability skills.

Operationally, this would seek to provide tactical options in the short and long-term in instances where a young person (under the age of 18) is particularly vulnerable as either a victim or perpetrator of criminal behaviour, and potentially reduce the threat, risk and harm pertaining to such individuals.

The key aims are:

  • to develop the individuals in the cohort with regards to qualifications, personal wellbeing, skill development, employability and social action (part of their local community and their perception of their community) – this in turn will potentially reduce the impact of trauma and increase confidence and self-esteem of the cohort

  • to reduce the effects of adverse childhood experiences through re-sensitisation and raising awareness that adverse childhood experiences should not be considered the norm

  • to understand and improve the delivery and impact of Threats to Life on young people to inform police forces on the best possible process and follow-on actions needed when delivering Threats to Life Notices

Research methodology

A cohort of 16 young people between the ages of 13 to 18 will be identified through GMP’s systems who have either directly received a Threat to Life Notice in the past 12 months, or are children to a parent(s) who have received a Threat to Life Notice in the past 12 months.

Their details will then be given to the mentors at the Manchester United Youth Foundation who then make contact through post in the first instance to invite the young person into the scheme. More individuals will be invited into the scheme as it progresses to ensure a minimum of 16 participants at any given stage (catering for any refusals to be involved or disengagement).

The scheme will include but not be limited to:

  • ‘Street Reds’ football sessions

  • boxing sessions (Moss Side Fire Station)

  • personal training sessions (Trafford Leisure)

  • a day at GMP FHQ receiving positive inputs from officers (of varying ranks) to improve attitudes towards the police

  • providing and promoting the opportunity for the cohort to complete the V99 volunteering programme

  • various workshops targeted towards life and employability skills, such as CV workshops, presentations and interview practice

All this activity will be tracked through activity logs filled in by coaches and mentors at Manchester United Youth Foundation, including any notes by coaches and mentors on individual progress or challenges to assist in identifying any patterns for engagement or disengagement.

Interviews will also take place on multiple levels, including interviewing Man United and GMP personnel involved in the project (such as mentors, coaches, Neighbourhood Inspectors), as well as training to Man United personnel who will interview individuals in the cohort on the basis they would have built rapport with the individuals over the preceding six months.

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