Police districts join forces for inclusive day for youth
POLICE from two Northern Rivers districts will bring together their programs for at-risk youth in an event that's the first of its kind for the region tomorrow.
The NSW Police Fit For Life program has been running in Richmond Police District since August last year.
Richmond Police District Superintendent Toby Lindsay said he'd been speaking with the former commander in his neighbouring district of Tweed Byron, Wayne Starling, about running a joint event as part of the early intervention program, which is run in conjunction with the Youth & Crime Prevention Command and PCYC as part of the Rise Up initiative.
When Supt Starling retired, however, his replacement turned out to be equally enthusiastic: Supt Dave Roptell was involved in launching the initiative.
"Luckily enough (he) was one of the originating commanders who started Rise Up,” Supt Lindsay said.
"When he came up I floated the idea and it just makes good sense to pool our resources.”
Supt Lindsay said a significant aspect of the program, which is run weekly at the Lismore PCYC and also in school outreach programs, was building positive relationships between young people and police.
In Lismore' the program has involved boxing sessions, where officers connect with young people during an early-morning gathering before giving them breakfast and getting them to school.
He said the joint event would be held at Lake Ainsworth Sports and Recreation Camp on Monday.
He said PCYC CEO Dominic Teakle, senior sergeant Julie Lindsay from the Youth Command and others would assist on the day for beach fitness, touch footy and other activities prior to a barbecue brunch.
He said about 60 youth were expected to take part in the day.
"There'll be about 30-40 from each command district,” he said.
"We're bringing in at risk youth from Ballina, Lismore and Casino.”
He said other youth would come from the northern command to take part in the day.
"We're coming together and ... it's also showing them that we're committed,” he said.
"It's not just a local initiative. It's a consistent initiative that's being rolled out across the state.”