Police officers and boys from Dagenham have gone head-to-head in football matches to tackle conversations about stop and search.

A series of intense eight a-side football matches were organised at Goals in Dagenham.

Lifeline Projects joined up with Met Police officers and around 50 boys, creating an opportunity for open conversations, with an aim to boost mutual trust.

Following the series of football matches, both teams tucked into pizza, while the officers listened to the boys' concerns and their perception of police.

The objective was to engage differently with young people, build trust, and get their viewpoints on the issue of stop and search.

Barking and Dagenham Post: The teams had pizza and conversations about stop and search after their 8 a-side gamesThe teams had pizza and conversations about stop and search after their 8 a-side games (Image: Met Police)

Superintendent David Rhodes said: "We are building a New Met For London where we want our communities to trust the work we are doing to fight crime, reduce anti social behaviour and keep people safe.

"The aim is for these events to be less formal and build trust and confidence during sports sessions that lead to a productive session after to discuss stop and search and how police improve relations with young people."

Mr Rhodes continued: "We want the public to trust in the work we're doing and see how we're fighting crime in their communities and keeping people safe."

Lifeline Projects supports young people who are at risk of school exclusions, serious violence or poor mental health.

The volunteers run sessions every weekday in the evening, during what they call 'the lost hours' from 4pm to 7pm, providing a safe space for young people to engage in free activities, steering clear of crime.

Amy Jones from Lifeline Projects said: "Working with the Met police tonight shows the relationship between young people and the police doesn’t have to be worlds apart.

"It has been a great opportunity to get the Met down to what the boys call ‘Home’ and play football together bridging that gap".

The project currently has several free sessions running in Barking & Dagenham, including football for under 16s boys and girls on Fridays and other sport including netball for all girls on Wednesdays.