The NSW Police Force is continuing its commitment to vulnerable and ‘at-risk’ youth by preparing and delivering welfare packages to young people and their families following the suspension of youth services as part of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Following the direction to self-isolate and the shutdown of all non-essential services – including the suspension of PCYC NSW clubs and facilities – officers from the Youth and Crime Prevention Command are reaching out to young people in the community who frequently utilise their services.
Each of the welfare packages are compiled by NSW Police Force Youth Liaison Officers (YLO) and School Liaison Officers (SLO) and contain a combination of food items and hygiene products.
Capability, Performance and Youth Commander, Assistant Commissioner Paul Pisanos APM, said the initiative demonstrates the positive bond between police and youth across New South Wales.
“Our officers work tirelessly to build strong relationships with young people in the local community and provide them with the guidance, support and skills to make positive life choices,” Assistant Commissioner Pisanos said.
“We know this is a very difficult time for all Australians with essential services out of play – and this includes our at-risk youth who rely on the services and support that police and the PCYC provide.
“The welfare packages, which have so far been delivered in Woolloomooloo, Lithgow and Bathurst, are just one way for our officers to remind these kids that police are always here to help, no matter what,” Assistant Commissioner Pisanos said.
PCYC NSW CEO, Dominic Teakle, said all 64 PCYC clubs across the state have been closed for the community’s safety under the current COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are absolutely devastated to have temporarily closed our PCYC clubs across New South Wales, as we know just how much joy and purpose they give to young people,” Mr Teakle said.
“We are proud to partner with the NSW Police Force and are grateful to have their continued support during these exceptionally difficult times.
“Many of those who regularly attend our clubs do so for the community, but there are some that rely on us for basics like food and shelter, which makes what the police are doing during this time so important and we thank them,” Mr Teakle said.
Youth and Crime Prevention Commander, Superintendent Mark Wall, said officers are adapting in every way possible to ensure the community continue to feel safe.
“As a community we need to help one another through this uncertain time, so our officers have been looking for new ways to serve and support young people and their families,” Supt Wall said.
“We hope these welfare packages bring some relief and happiness to those youth who regularly attend these facilities, whether it be for an education program, fitness class, or friendly catch-up.
“The implementation of the Commissioner’s RISEUP strategy almost two years ago has been a game-changer in youth engagement.
“While those programs have been temporarily suspended, we want the community to know we are also forward planning for when restrictions are lifted to help our youth get back on their feet,” Supt Wall said.
NSW Police Force, together with PCYC NSW, would like to thank the companies and individuals who donated items to include in the youth welfare packages.