West Midlands Police use football to tackle gang crime

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A football match is being used to help to steer teenagers away from gun crime and gang culture.

West Midlands Police's Guns & Knives Take Lives project is using a regional youth charity tournament to teach the dangers of gang life.

It is the first time the project, launched two years ago, has targeted young footballers.

The match, for 16-18-year-olds from West Midlands clubs, is at Aldersley Leisure Centre, Wolverhampton.

'Not be tolerated'

The project also features a presentation with real life stories including a talk from Marcia Shakespeare, mother of Letisha Shakespeare who was shot dead in 2003 by a gang member.

The tournament has been organised by Jennifer Mildenhall from Wolves Community Trust which manages the Kickz project in the city - a joint national project between the Premier League and police.

She said: "I think the fact that all five football clubs that deliver Kickz in the West Midlands are willing to work together in such a positive way really highlights that gun, gang and knife crime is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

After the five-a-side tournament, officers will play the winning club in a showcase match.

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