Teenage kicks: The value of sport in tackling youth crime

Youth crime and anti-social behaviour cost the UK government £4bn every year, with one in five young people reporting being involved in crime and anti-social behaviour. Sport can be a powerful tool for tackling this problem, and can be more cost-effective than traditional approaches.

Sport can get young people off the streets, out of trouble, engaged in education, and back on track. Everyone can benefit from playing sport, but it can make a particular difference to young people who are difficult to engage in other ways. For these reasons, sports-based projects can be highly successful in reducing youth crime. Anecdotally, we know about the positive impact sport has on young people. But in order to make a convincing case for investment, we need hard evidence.

In Teenage kicks, NPC applies the principles of economic analysis to three projects using sport to tackle youth crime in different ways. The report, commissioned by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, explores the case for investment in high quality, well-run sports projects, which can often be the ‘hook’ needed to engage young people in wider programmes of education and support.

 Cuts to sport and youth projects are a false economy. Sport combined with targeted support has huge potential to engage hard to reach young people, change lives and communities, and provide value for money.

Camilla Nevill, report author

Read Trial and error, NPC’s 2010 report on young people in trouble with the law.