Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa is at the forefront of a new national board to promote and develop sport as an effective way to prevent youth crime.

The Commissioner has been appointed as chair of the new PCC National Sport and Youth Crime Prevention Board which brings together PCCs inviting experts across community sport and youth justice to shape the future of sports-driven crime intervention in the future.

Launched by the PCC at its inaugural meeting, the Board’s mission is to create a unified voice for PCCs across the country who recognise the power of sport in preventing young people entering the criminal justice system and are committed to investing in sports-related programmes.

It will call on a team of experts made up of academics, government representatives, sports organisations and youth charities who will engage meetings to advise on key issues including research, best practice, partnerships and policy opportunities.

Mr Dhindsa has been working in partnership with the sports charity StreetGames since 2015 when he secured grants from a number of Home Office funding sources to maximise sport-based interventions as part of a wider effort to tackle youth crime.

Derbyshire has led a number of consortium programmes including PCC areas from England and Wales, to pilot sports interventions and - in an innovative move - the PCC agreed to host Stuart Felce, UK Director for Sport and Community Safety, to work alongside his team to help influence future prevention work and develop further insight into the role sport can play in combatting youth crime and serious youth violence.

Over the last five years, this approach has been hugely successful, not only in delivering thousands of sessions locally but building the evidence base on how to use sport as a means of tackling youth offending and reoffending across areas including Greater Manchester, West Midlands and South Wales.

StreetGames will support the new Board ensuring it has access to relevant research, best practice and policy on behalf of the sports sector in order to shape the board’s future thinking and actions.

“This new Board is a huge milestone for youth crime prevention and will harness the skills and experience of a multitude of experts to promote increased use of sport to tackle offending and reoffending across England and Wales,” said Mr Dhindsa.

“Over the years I’ve invested in locally-trusted organisations and seen first-hand how sport is used to develop their potential, encourage self-discipline and protect the more vulnerable young people from entering the criminal justice system.

“I’ve already made it a priority to expand sporting opportunities across Derbyshire and now, through the new Board, I will work with like-minded colleagues nationally to ensure sport and positive activities are a focus for crime prevention across England and Wales.

“We will work together as one team to bring the benefits of sport to every community and ensure the Government continues to invest in and support sport to make our young people safer, healthier and more successful.”

The Board, which is supported by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), includes a leadership team, chaired by Mr Dhindsa, comprising West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns-Williamson, Humberside PCC Keith Hunter, Devon and Cornwall PCC Alison Hernandez and Essex PCC Roger Hirst.

It will act as a learning hub for all forms of sports-based crime prevention work and will lobby Government to align funding strategies and influence future policy decisions, priorities and actions.

Stuart Felce, UK Director of Sport and Community Safety at StreetGames, said: “StreetGames are pleased to be invited to support Hardyal and the Leadership Board’s intentions and will do everything to ensure the community sports sector is represented every step of the way.”