The BBC reported on research today carried out by think tank and charity New Philanthropy Capital which suggested that ‘playing cricket can deter your people from joining gangs and committing crime’.

The scheme from StreetChance, which ‘runs weekly cricket sessions for young people in some of the most socially deprived areas’, has found a positive impact on the young people who have been involved in the programme, including improvement in behaviour and attitude.

It was reported that the involvement of young people in teams or clubs helps ‘divert youngsters away from crime and anti-social behaviour’, providing more opportunities for alternative activities, thus reducing opportunities for bad behaviour.

Similarly, the Kickz initiative which ‘uses the power of football to create safer, stronger, more respectful communities through the development of young people’s potential’ had impressive results, as identified by Sport England:

In one location for Kickz in North London, youth crime dropped from 2,529 incidents in the year before Kickz started, to 867 in the third year of the programme.

20% of this reduced crime is attributable to Kickz.

One important factor which both schemes share is that their sports coaching is supplemented with educational workshops and classes on topics such as ‘drug awareness and healthy eating’ in the case of Kickz, and ‘gangs, knife crime and drug abuse’ in the case of StreetChance.