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Police Boxing History

The Police Boxing Association has been in existence and active since 1906.

Since that time our most distinguished athlete has been Henry William ‘Harry’ Mullin. Initially a member of Eton Boys Amateur Boxing Club, Harry came into his own as a serving police officer within the Metropolitan [London] Police.

After a full term in the Police Service, Harry died on the 8th November 1969. Whilst juggling his police career with boxing for the police, England and Great Britain, his achievement of two gold medals at the 1920 Antwerp and 1924 Paris Olympic Games has never been surpassed by a British Police Officer.

In more recent years and in particular late in the 1970’s, the PBA committee had many Chief Officers in its number including those from the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside Police, Staffordshire Police, West Midlands Police and The Royal Ulster Constabulary [now PSNI]. This pro-active committee had as its President  Sir James Anderton of Greater Manchester Police, the Chairman was Bob Lawrence who after taking office whilst the Deputy Chief Constable of Staffordshire Constabulary, subsequently became the Chief Constable of South Wales Police. A wonderful supporter, Bob held the post until his untimely death in 1996. Barry Jones MBE was appointed as Secretary in 1978 and remains such to this day.

On the 3rd May 1989 at a meeting held in Belfast NI, the Police B.A. was officially adopted by the Police Athletic Association [now known as Police Sport UK] as the Boxing Section of that UK governing body of police sport. From that date the overarching  title of the Section was ‘The British Police Boxing Association’ and teams formed from that date were to be called ‘British Police Teams’.

On the 10th February 1990 the English national governing body (civil) of amateur

Boxing, the Amateur Boxing Association of England [ABAE], sanctioned and adopted the British Police National Novice Boxing Championships. It should be noted that this was the first Championship facilitating specifically ‘Novice’ class boxers ever held under the jurisdiction of any of the UK’s NGBs.

The first National Novice Championships, staged by the British Police BA,  were held on the 23rd March 1990 in Walsall Town Hall, Walsall, West Midlands.

The first ‘official’ British Police B.A. team was formed to participate in a match against the Royal Navy on the 20th April 1990 at the South Parade Pier, Southsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Although the British Police International Open Championship had taken place on an ad-hoc basis, for many years, on the 16th February 1991 this was adopted by the England NGB the Amateur Boxing Association of England  [ABAE]. The first ‘official’ event being staged at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre, London in May 1993.

Because of the reforming of a new ABAE, on the 18th November 1992 the British Police.B.A. joined the newly formed limited company ‘The Amateur Boxing Association of England Limited’ [ABAE Limited].

In 1994 the British Police Amateur Boxing Association appointed its first National Coach in the person of Mike Gannon. BEM. [then a member of Hampshire Constabulary] Mike had just completed a full term in the British Army Physical Training Corps, the last twelve of which had been as the Warrant Officer and Chief Coach of the British Army Boxing Team.

Upon joining the PBA, Mike, as other Regional Coaches,  was sanctioned by the ABAE to deliver all PBA coaching courses and subsequently we have appointed other ‘NGB ‘Advanced coaches within our organisation to also deliver such courses.

From this time, Derek Rulten [Superintendent – Essex Police] a boxer with over one hundred bouts and already an established and respected NGB official commenced deliveries of officials courses [Judges, Referees, Supervisors etc] to PBA members. He remains the senior adjudicating official at the PBA to this date.

At a meeting of the PBA Committee on the 28th February 1997, held at Durham Police Headquarters under the Chair of Chief Constable Bernard Hedges, it was agreed that the committee would withdraw from membership of the Police Athletic Association [now Police Sport UK].

This was purely on the grounds that the PBA had formed a partnership with The Police Community Clubs of Great Britain [PCCGB]. In doing so, all police boxing clubs were urged to engage with their respective communities and deliver the sport of boxing whilst providing Citizenship programmes addressing local crime initiatives. This practice continues to this day.

As all funding within the Police Athletic Association is specifically designated to Police Officers and staff, the PBA could not continue to be in a position whereby they could receive central funding. Albeit, the PBA did not request nor receive such funding, it was felt prudent that the PBA relinquished its role within the PAA.

Once it became an independent sport within the Police Service a decision was immediately taken to allow the affiliation of civilian boxers to its Service membership. [A policy adopted by the Metropolitan Police initially].

Further, the PBA was firmly of the opinion that the sport of boxing was the perfect vehicle to address wider issues beyond the sport to engage with hard to reach communities. This policy remains to this day.

Having taken this step, the British Police Boxing Association reverted to the status held prior to the 3rd May 1989 having membership of Police & Home Office staff together with affiliated Civil clubs the latter of which retained their first call membership of their respective Regional Associations of the ABAE

On the 22nd May 1997 the ABAE Limited were informed of the ‘deformation’ from P.A.A. membership and its restructured make up, and on the 19th July 1997 at the ABAE Limited Executive Meeting the new status was adopted by them.

On Saturday 12th July 1997 a meeting of representatives from all Police Community Clubs took place at the West Midlands Training Establishment, Tally-Ho, Birmingham. It is correct to say that there was overwhelming support for the concept of an ‘alliance’ of police community boxing clubs with the emphasis being put on service to the community by volunteer police officers and civil staff through community boxing clubs.

At this formative meeting twelve clubs joined, all were from inner city areas throughout England including Newcastle, London, Bradford, Devonport and Birmingham. A decision was also made at this meeting which set the precedence that the PCCGB would ‘underwrite’ all PBA business in cases of financial hardship, thereby further strengthening the partnership of PBA / PCCGB.

The ‘Police Community Clubs’ committee was formed and the Chairman appointed was Commander Malcolm Campbell, QPM. of the Metropolitan Police, the Vice Chairman was Assistant Chief Constable David Baker, QPM of West Midlands Police and the Patron was subsequently appointed when Sir James Anderton the then retired Chief Officer of Greater Manchester Police kindly accepted the post offered on 27th August 1997, thereby returning to the original committee he assisted in forming in 1978.

The first season 1997/1998 of the ‘Clubs’ proved to be an unqualified success, collectively the clubs had in excess of three hundred boxers some holding titles including ‘Olympic silver medallist, European Bronze medallists (2), National Senior A.B.A. champions (2) and at least ten International representatives in the first year.

The majority of clubs have subsequently formed partnerships with their respective local authorities and the benefit that the actions of the member clubs have given both to the local communities and police community relations is immeasurable.

Literally hundreds of children and young people have and continue to find themselves in a disciplined and friendly environment as apposed to wondering the inner city streets or participating in anti social activities and crime.

It is no understatement to say that many of our members have been guided from a path of crime into the competitive and disciplined confines of our clubs.

The ‘Clubs’ are committed to enhancing police community relations whilst at the same time promoting healthy sporting activities. We seek to exploit every opportunity to promote our organisation and aims.

On the 28th November 1997, the Chairman of The Clubs, in liaison with the Secretary of the Police Athletic Association Chief Constable Sir John Evans, agreed that the Association should be renamed in order to correctly reflect the activities of the newly constituted Association outside the P.A.A. structure. It was agreed that henceforth the Association would be called The Police and Community Boxing Association of England [PCBA]

On the 17th January 1998 at a meeting of the ABAE Limited Executive Council, the Home Office and Civil Service were formally included within the Police Association. This instruction incorporates such organisations as the Prison Service some Fire Service athletes and other Home Office and Civil Service employees.

At this same meeting, the National Governing Body adopted the new title for the organisation, The Police and Community Boxing Association of England [PCBA]

The PCBA offered to formulated the rules of a ABAE National Novice Championships within which, for the first time, the national governing body would incorporate the ‘graded ability by bouts’ rules, which had previously, only featured in Police and Combined Services boxing rules. The ABAE accepted.

The PCBA then staged the first two annual ABAE ‘Novice’ Championships at Wembley,  and the Metropolitan Police College, Hendon respectively.

As a direct result of our efforts, the National Novice Championships are now the most successful tournament in the ABAE [now England Boxing] calendar.

In 2004 the Police Association was asked by the ABAE Limited to formulate rules for Female Boxing, based similarly on  the male Novice Championships again on the Police ‘Graded’ boxing rules. They were adopted by the ABAE Limited and the Police Association staged the first Female Championships at the Hendon Police College in that same year.

In June 2006, The Police Community Clubs of Great Britain became a Limited Company. In the same year, the Metropolitan Police Boxing Club also took similar steps. This action was taken on the advice of Police Insurers.

In 2007 membership of the PCCGB Boxing Clubs totalled 77 with a waiting list of over 150 clubs. Many of the PCCGB clubs had by then formed partnerships with numerous Youth Offending Teams, many of which also worked closely with local Magistrates Courts from which clubs were provided with referred youngsters as they were seen as a major tool in a magistrate’s armoury of rehabilitation options.

Also in 2007 we reluctantly lost our National Coach Mick Gannon BEM who after thirteen years [one year longer than his duties with the British Army team], took up post as the National ABAE Coach leading England’s bid for medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. History will now acknowledge his huge successes in this role.

September 2008 witnessed the scaling down of PCCGB Boxing Clubs in favour of ensuring we retained clubs which go ‘that extra mile’ to provide a comprehensive service to their local communities. The process saw the retention of 37 fully affiliated clubs and 13 Associate Level clubs – membership continues to fluctuate around this figure.

2008 also saw the affiliation of the first ‘PCCGB Boxing Clubs’ from the Principality of Wales.

September 2008 saw the PCCGB move into Boxing Academies when it  formed a partnership with the Bradford College of Further Education. From this partnership emerged the Bradford Police and College Boxing Academy, the in house boxing centre for the college and a flagship centre for the PCCGB.

The Bradford Police & College Boxing Academy is now an accredited Centre of Excellence and is regularly used by the England Boxing for various ‘squads’ utilising the first class facilities and accommodation .

Many international squads from throughout the world now travel to the centre where they benefit from the world class performance coaching team in post at our Bradford facility.

2012 – 2013 saw the PCCGB forming the country’s first prison based Boxing Coaches Academy within Doncaster Prison in South Yorkshire in  partnership with the Ministry of Justice.

2015 saw the return of  Mick Gannon to the PCBA to regain the National Coach role.

Another high flyer is Barry Jones MBE [referred to earlier] who in 2014 was appointed to the World Governing body [AIBA] serving on its Disciplinary / Compliance Commission.

A notable achievement in recent years has been the meteoric rise of Police Constable Danny McFarlane of Northumbria Police. Officiating at the very highest level in World Boxing [AIBA] he continues to travel the world constantly officiating at this level.

Since 2005, the following have remained or been adopted as Patron’s of Police Boxing;  and ‘The Clubs’ –  Lord John Stevens QPM LL.B the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Gerry Sutcliffe who was in Her Majesty’s Government holding in particular, the post of Sports Minister 2007-2010 and Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt of the Metropolitan Police.

Given the unquestioned success of the PBA over the years albeit under the umbrella of the PCCGB, we can feel confident that that their new Executive Committee can only thrive.

Police & Community Boxing Association
‘Windsor Lodge’ [Level 1]‘Windsor Lodge’
17 Tower Road
Dorset BH13 6HX
Tel: 01202 768 758
MB: 0777 6393538
Police & Community Boxing Association
Administration Manager
‘Lark Rise’
Devon EX39 5HN

Updated: 04.2016