Sergeant Smith (Shropshire), on building relationships with young people
What angling does is give you time to sit there and chat to young people. We do football sessions, but the difference with football is that you are there with them for an hour, you’re running around, it’s a good laugh and they enjoy themselves but there’s little engagement. Whereas if you’re sat 5 or 6 hours next to some lad, trying to teach them how to fish, you start talking about all sorts of things and they start to see this man I used to see walking round in that police jacket, actually he is human. We have seen huge reductions in anti-social behaviour in Meole Brace year on year. I think it’s more to do with the relationship that’s been built than the few hours we keep them engaged fishing. The spinoff is they all know us. Where as if a response officer was to come onto the estate, they would get a better response then they would a few years ago, but they still won’t get the level of engagement that we will. We’ve been with them all week, every day of the year, they know us very well, there is not a stigma attached with getting in touch, speaking to the police.