Peterborough police officers receive commendation for ‘Knock Out Extremism’ campaign

Two Cambridgeshire officers have received a formal commendation in recognition of their work on a campaign to tackle radicalisation and extremism.
Inspector Paul Harris, Inspector Helen Brooke and ACC Nik Adams who presented the awards, Detective Sergeant Rich Ellison.Inspector Paul Harris, Inspector Helen Brooke and ACC Nik Adams who presented the awards, Detective Sergeant Rich Ellison.
Inspector Paul Harris, Inspector Helen Brooke and ACC Nik Adams who presented the awards, Detective Sergeant Rich Ellison.

Detective Sergeant Rich Ellison and Detective Inspector Paul Harris attended the Counter Terrorism Policing Prevent awards ceremony on Friday, 1 April, at New Scotland Yard, London.

Launched in July 2018, Knock Out Extremism is a joint initiative between the eastern region’s Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) unit and the Peterborough Police Boxing Club.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The campaign provides training for boxing coaches on how to spot the early signs of radicalisation, as well as providing a diversion for people who may be at risk of being drawn into extremism.

Rich joined CTP East’s Prevent team in 2017 with the ambition to raise awareness around the vulnerability of people being drawn into radicalisation. Building on the incredible work done by PCs Chris and Vicki Baker who created the Peterborough Police Boxing Club back in 2013, Rich, Chris and Paul worked hard to create Knock Out Extremism.

The campaign has created a safe space where young people can exercise, build friendships, and learn valuable skills, and has since had a positive impact on the community by creating a diversion for those at risk of being drawn into radicalisation.

Rich said: “I saw first-hand all the amazing work Chris and Vicki did in diverting vulnerable people away from criminality and saw how much they were turning lives around. Boxing clubs like Peterborough Police Boxing club with dedicated, passionate, responsible people like Chris and Vicki running them are a positive distraction and diversion for vulnerable people.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“They offer a safe environment and a positive outlet where people get a sense of purpose and belonging, which extreme groups may otherwise try to offer them.

“Chris really used his knowledge, skills and his contacts within England Boxing to develop and grow the project and really push the vision for it.

“His son, Alfie Baker, has just become the first national champion in the history of Peterborough Police Boxing Club which really helps to highlight the achievements that can be made for club members.

“It’s a huge achievement with the majority of clubs in the country never having a national champion, yet Chris and the club have done it in less than eight years of the club being in existence.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Paul, who worked alongside Rich in Prevent, has been part of the team since 2016. He added: “These sports cater for huge segments of communities and give an ideal platform to introduce the topic of prevent painting a picture that is transparent, clear and unbiased.

“The projects themselves give chances to vulnerable people to get involved with community programmes or local clubs to avoid them joining the path of radicalisation.

“I enjoy networking with new partners to create innovative relationships that run to the benefit of all. I strongly believe that projects like these have sustainable solutions that help safeguard people and give them an opportunity to thrive.”

The future of Knock Out Extremism is promising, and the club has seen dramatic growth since starting out in Peterborough, with England Boxing Club Support Officers now delivering the Knock Out Extremism Prevent training packages.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The officers are currently looking to get more ambassador clubs on board to continue to push awareness and understanding of Prevent to ensure safeguarding officers understand signs of radicalisation.

At the same awards ceremony Inspector Helen Brooke, from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), also received a commendation for outstanding leadership and excellent work with partners while Chris Hams, a Prevent case officer, was recognised for his work with the military.

Chief Inspector Keren Pope, who leads Prevent for ERSOU CTP, said: “It was my absolute pleasure to attend the awards and see the hard work of our officers and staff recognised on a national level.

“Every day our Prevent teams work incredibly hard to safeguard people vulnerable to radicalisation and prevent people from being drawn into extremism.

“They play an important role in helping to make the eastern region a safer place and I was proud to see some of them being commended for this work.”