Youth worker teams come to the party
By MARY MANN firstname.lastname@example.org A SAFE Party Squad run by police will help stop kids running amok in Lennox Head this Christmas holiday period. Youth workers will provide young people with information and advice, and organised activities will be held to engage youths and avoid trouble.
The squad will operate each Friday from 8pm to 1am during the January school holidays.
Senior Constable John Croger said Lennox Head had experienced problems of antisocial behaviour, underage drinking and crime.
"The idea is to provide a non-confrontational adult presence, which would have an underlying message of safety.
"It will help reduce the amount of antisocial behaviour and malicious damage in the town."
It would also provide an open forum for youth wanting to discuss matters which affect young people, he said.
If the program is a success in Lennox Head, it may be introduced to other towns across NSW.
Ballina Shire mayor Phillip Silver said he was grateful for the move.
"We are appreciative of the proactive policing," he said. Councillor and youth advocate Peter Moore, who moved for the council to support the squad, said it was important the council got behind it.
He said the initiative was about engaging with our young people.
"It's picking up on the relationships Street Beat provided for the past seven years," he said.
Street Beat is a youth advocacy service run by the Ballina District Community Services Association (BDCSA).
Deputy mayor Cr David Wright said it was great to see police leading the charge to address issues of antisocial behaviour.
"I know how stretched police are right around the state ... this is something we've been looking forward to," he said.
Cr Alan Brown, while supporting the initiative, said he was unhappy with the lack of State Government financial support for the project.
The council resolved to give financial and in-kind assistance to the Safe Party Squad and to support relevant agencies in seeking Government funding for its promotion and development.
Community groups such as BDCSA, Ballina Youth Interagency and the Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce will be involved with the squad.