DOZENS of youngsters put their soccer skills to the test against police and community wardens at a football tournament.
The event was organised during half-term week to break down barriers between youths and the authorities – and have a good kickabout.
Two teams of officers from Paulsgrove Safer Neighbourhoods Team and community wardens from Portsmouth City Council did battle against young footballers from Hillside Young People’s Centre in Cheltenham Road, Paulsgrove, King Richard School in Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove and Portsea Youth Club B team.
But the A team from Portsea Youth Club stole the show, winning the tournament at Goals Portsmouth in Tangier Road.
Organiser PC Dan Darwin from Paulsgrove Safer Neighbourhoods Team said: ‘It’s all about breaking down the barriers within the community, building up relationships through community engagement and for everyone to come here, have fun, learn how to respect each other and work together through football.
‘They get to see a different side of the police and community wardens outside of our normal working environment, so hopefully they don’t just see us as people who tell them off and they learn they can talk to us.’
About 42 people took part in the event – which was free for young people and also included a barbecue.
Police paid for two pitches that were rented out at Goals for a reduced rate for the day.
Co-op Funeral directors donated £60 and the city council’s Navigators service gave £200.
Police and wardens also donated £30 at the event which will go towards a King Richard School trip to Kenya later this year.
Community warden Dave Pullar, who also helped organise the day, said: ‘We’re not out there to tell them off all the time. We’re human too.
Community warden Jan Thomas said: ‘The kids seem to have this image of police and community wardens that it’s all about telling them off and enforcement and it’s not just about that.’