26 September 2023

Police recruiting sports stars for youth work

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NSW Police has joined forces with sporting personalities and ambassadors from the National Rugby League, NSW Rugby League and Netball NSW to steer young people into programs that develop confidence, life skills and positive influences.

Welcoming the Sporting Partnership Industry program, Minister for Police, Paul Toole said the initiative would form part of a number of strategies to tackle the causes of youth crime.

“We know how important sport can be to engage with at-risk young people, instil a sense of responsibility and accountability and guide them towards making good decisions,” Mr Toole said.

“Getting to spar with Sonny Bill, or shoot some hoops with the state’s top netballers, can be a life changing opportunity for our young people and no matter what else is going on in their lives, they can’t help but walk away feeling inspired,” he said.

Commissioner of Police, Karen Webb said the partnership was an intervention strategy that allowed police the opportunity to engage with youth in a neutral, relaxed and friendly environment.

“Diversion and early intervention have proven to be extremely effective in keeping young people out of the justice system,” Commissioner Webb said.

“Once a young person is identified as being at risk – either through committing a criminal offence or being disengaged from school – police can refer them into a PCYC program,” she said.

“It gives that young person an opportunity to be involved in something more meaningful and constructive, as well as be surrounded by positive influences from outside of their direct networks.”

Commissioner Webb said ambassadors and pathway players from the Canberra Raiders, Manly Sea Eagles, Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Eels, Sydney Swans, A-Leagues – Macarthur Bulls and Sydney FC, GWS Giants, Netball NSW and Cricket NSW would attend existing Police Citizens Youth Clubs NSW (PCYC) Fit for Life programs that were delivered across the State year-round.

She said the Sporting Partnership Industry program would commence on 30 May at four locations across the State, including Queanbeyan PCYC, Northern Beaches PCYC, Penrith PCYC and Auburn PCYC.

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