An innovative new scheme involving police officers and adolescents playing cricket together is having a beneficial effect on inner city crime, Metropolitan Police sources are reporting.
"Peace At The Crease" has been operating in Hackney and Lewisham for the past few months and already street crime figures are falling.
The idea of the project is to build up trust between 2 often directly opposed sections of society - the police and youths - by their participation in a group sport.
The end result hopefully is an increase in respect between the two groups. Part of this is achieved by the use of cricketing terms to take the tension out of the traditionally confrontational relationship between teenagers and the law.
For example, when a youth approaches a police officer to ask if his friend is still in custody after an alleged incident, the officer might normally wind up the adolescent by replying "he's still well banged up".
Under the new scheme, the policeman should reply with the slightly less provocative "he's not out" or "he's on bail".
Similarly, while in the past, the police might refer to a youngster who's been involved in various types of crime as "having his fingers in more pies than Little Jack Horner", the new guidelines would push the officer in the direction of calling the offender an "all rounder".
Another indication of the more gently, gently approach the police North London are adopting towards the youth of today would apply in the case of a suspect who appears to be less than open in answering questions about his potential involvement in a crime.
In the bad old days,the officer might well have described the interviewee as "being more defensive than the bleedin' catennacio system".
The new enlightened policeman would refer to the adolescent as "being somewhat on the back foot".
Despite the promising results from the pilot project in its first 6 months, there are no plans yet to apply the scheme to the Met's dealings with Eastern European people traffickers.