Merseyside Police chief challenges three other forces to Portsmouth-Liverpool yacht race

The challenge aims to inspire young people in the community and will be funded by money confiscated from criminals.

The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Serena Kennedy, has challenged three other forces to take to the seas for a yacht race around the coast of England later this year.

Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and Greater Manchester forces are set to race from Portsmouth Harbour to Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock in 72ft Challenger yachts.

The challenge, which is set to start on Sunday 22 October and finish on the River Mersey on Friday 28 October, will include young people from local communities among the sailing crew.

Where did the idea for the race come from?

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “Merseyside Police have had a relationship with the Tall Ships charity for a number of years where we take groups of young people from Merseyside, and they sail a ship from the south and up here into Merseyside.

“Two staff had a fantastic idea a couple of years ago that we would set the challenge to broaden the experience but also add a bit of competitiveness to the other North West forces. So, we invited North Wales police, Cheshire police and Greater Manchester police to join us.”

Inspiring young people

Chas Cowell, Youth Development and Volunteers Manager, Tall Ships Youth Trust

Chas Cowell, Youth Development and Volunteers Manager, Tall Ships Youth Trust, said, “Everyone comes from different walks of life, got different interests. Everyone’s got to be able to get on together, and that’s what happens. You’ve got nowhere to go on a boat. We are really proud to be supporting this.

“We’ve been going since 1956, and we’ve been working with young people from Merseyside all that time. I’ve got some very good friends and keep in touch with a lot of young people that sailed 20 odd years ago with us. They are now deputy head teachers and captains on boats. It’s great what we do.”

Turning a negative into a positive

Emily Spurrell, Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner

Merseyside Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said, “I think it’s really important we recognise the impact crime can have on certain communities, on certain young people, on families, individuals. This is all about how we can take this money away from criminals and turn it into something really positive.

This is why I really welcome this project. I think the young people that you speak to are really excited. They’re really looking forward to getting involved. They’re going to get skills, experience, and qualifications out of it. So, it’s a really good story in terms of how to turn something quite negative into something really positive.”