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A Barclays Spaces for Sports-backed survey has revealed that drug abuse is the biggest worry for parents of UK school children.

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Cricket is a team sport and a great tool for breaking down barriers with young people.
Mark Johnson, Inspector at the Metropolitan Police Service

The research was published today by StreetChance, a partnership between Barclays, charities the Cricket Foundation and Cricket for Change, and London's Metropolitan Police Service.

It supports Peace at the Crease, a StreetChance initiative aimed at reducing youth-related crime by encouraging police officers to engage with young people through street cricket.

Specifically, the survey showed that 10 times as many parents fear that their children will become involved with drugs than knives.

In addition, the research, which surveyed a total of 1,022 parents, revealed that:

  • More than half of all respondents (57 per cent) believe their children may have taken part in illegal or anti-social behaviour
  • Three-quarters of parents (78 per cent) think young people are more at risk of becoming involved in anti-social or illegal activities compared to when they were young
  • Nearly half of all respondents (47 per cent) say they are 'concerned' about the general outlook for today's young people.

Ninety per cent of the parents surveyed believe that playing team sport can reduce the risk of school children getting involved in anti-social or illegal activities.

However, the research showed that a quarter of 8 to 18-year-olds never took part in a team sport, with the figure rising to 40 per cent among 16 to 18-year olds.

The findings of the study are expected to give greater impetus to Peace at the Crease events, organised across London this summer to break down barriers between young people and address issues such as street safety, anti-social behaviour, drug abuse, as well as knife and gun crime.

Mark Johnson, Inspector at the Metropolitan Police Service, said: "Cricket is a team sport and a great tool for breaking down barriers with young people.

"Everyone's involved, batting and bowling, and immediately the children and officers interact with one another."

StreetChance was launched in July 2008 by Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, and reached 7,000 young people through cricket sessions in schools and community venues in its first year.

Barclays Spaces for Sports, launched in the UK in 2004, is a community sports programme using sport to revitalise disadvantaged communities and tackle key social issues in countries around the world where Barclays operates.

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