EFFORTS to curb anti-social behaviour among young people are being trialled in the form of boxing clubs.

Thames Valley Police's dedicated programme, Boxing Clever, has been piloted since the start of the year, working with secondary schools to engage students aged 14 to 18 in boxing as a positive activity to deter them from becoming involved in anti-social and criminal behaviour.

Students are coached in after-school training sessions by qualified instructors from SweetScience and the Whitley Amateur Boxing Club.

As well as learning about boxing techniques, fitness and self-discipline, the pupils are also mentored to develop greater self-confidence and increased resilience. These key skills can then be applied to positively impact other areas of their lives.

The programme has proved popular and benefited around 30 students from Highdown School, John Madejski Academy and Prospect School.

Sergeant John Chen, based at Reading police station, said: “Crime prevention is a key priority for Thames Valley Police and our partners.

“It is hoped that this scheme will allow the young people of Reading to participate in a sport that they enjoy, whilst preventing potential paths into criminality, exploitation and youth violence.

“Boxing Clever has been kindly funded for 12 months using a charity grant from Get Berkshire Active. I would welcome help and support from other local organisations to continue the project once this funding ends in January 2019. It is our aim to expand the programme into other schools who have already expressed interest, so that we can reach even more children.

“Anyone interested in finding out more about how they can support Boxing Clever can contact me via email at john.chen@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk.”