Police officers from Croydon took part in a netball event over the weekend in a bid to build trust within communities.

On Saturday ( June 19 ), youth engagement officers joined forces with London & South East Regional Netball Association, England Netball and London Pulse to run a netball experience day for young women and girls.

The event was created as a youth diversion scheme, aimed at building positive connections between young people and the police, as well as giving these girls the opportunity to engage in a new sport as a positive outlet.

The day provided a hands-on opportunity for twenty-five young women from the local area to learn and play netball, as part of a wider prevention initiative that looks to use sport as a positive outlet.

Your Local Guardian: Credit: Met Police Credit: Met Police

They were selected to attend by the youth engagement teams from Croydon, Bromley and Sutton, and through local mentoring partners: Project for Youth Empowerment, Mentivity, The Refugee Council and the Volunteer Police Cadets.

London Pulse, the capital’s only Vitality Netball Superleague team, sent down an elite coach to lead a day of training and netball match play.

A guest appearance from Pulse’s star Goal Shooter and Vitality Roses Futures player, Olivia Tchine, provided an opportunity to see first-hand how netball supports physical and mental discipline, leadership and focus, and creates strong female role models.

“It was fantastic to be here and work with such a fantastic group of girls," commented Olivia.

Your Local Guardian: Credit: Met Police Credit: Met Police

The girls also benefited from a talk from Janet Hills MBE, the Chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, who has coached and volunteered in the London & South East region for over 29 years.

Superintendent Andy Brittain, Partnership and Neighbourhood Policing, said: “Events like this change the narrative around the challenges our young people are facing within our communities and give them opportunities to showcase their talents, especially in sport.

"We are often aware in our jobs that young people who don’t have lots of advantages face what can feel like overwhelming obstacles, so I was delighted when the London & South East Regional Netball Association, England Netball and London Pulse agreed to help us run this event, to offer a new and exciting opportunity to the young woman in our area.”

Lucy Goodman, Regional Co-ordinator from the London & South East Netball Association said: “As a region that is tirelessly committed to empowering women through netball and knocking down participation barriers, it is incredible to see this initiative come to life in today’s pilot.

"We believe in the power of sport as a vehicle for positive change, so our hope is that today has helped these young women begin to realise their potential and learn that netball is a sport where everyone is welcomed; where we can all feel like a member of the same team.”

Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball added: “It is fantastic to see members of the Netball Family coming together alongside the Met’s Youth Engagement Team in a bid to get more young women in the area active.

"We’re very thankful for the efforts that have gone on behind the scenes to getting this initiative up and running.”