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JJ and Fulham breaking down barriers with Kicks

5 Nov 2019
CC

Community support officer says Premier League programme helps the Met Police engage with young people in south London

With the Premier League extending its commitment to Premier League Kicks for the next three years, clubs are sharing how the programme is benefiting their local communities.

Fulham

Community support officer John Joseph, otherwise known as JJ, is a regular presence on the streets of Merton in south-west London, where he works for the Metropolitan Police.

As part of his duties in the borough, JJ goes along to Pollards Hill to give his support to the young people attending Premier League Kicks sessions run by the Fulham Foundation.

"Historically, in uniform, out on the streets, kids just don't really want to engage," he says.

"But because I have had the opportunity through Kicks to actually work with them and spend some quality time with them, now they just see me as JJ, as someone they can talk to, someone they can trust."

PL Kicks has worked with the police service since it began as a pilot project in 2006.

And by involving officers in the programme as mentors and advisors, PL Kicks encourages positive community relations by breaking down barriers between young people and the police.

"Having a police officer attending, it makes everyone feel comfortable," says one Kicks participant at Pollards Hill.

"It makes young people feel like police officers are human as well. If it wasn't for Kicks, I would probably be getting in trouble on the streets."

Also in this series

Part 1: How Kenzie and Nick are PL Kicks role models
Part 2: Hamza thriving in Chelsea's PL Kicks family
Part 3: How Kicks helped Zaki feel at home with Aston Villa
Part 5: Brighton and PL Kicks giving Jaime the confidence to coach

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