Young want to change

Armadale Police youth crime intervention officer Kay Turner.
Armadale Police youth crime intervention officer Kay Turner.

Together, they tackle the issues which influence criminal behaviour says Armadale Police youth crime intervention officer Kay Turner.

‘The program has been so successful due to the willingness of the young people to be involved and change,’ she said.

‘The skills and engagement by Steve Dyson (youth worker) from Save the Children Australia and his ability to redirect these young people through mentoring.

‘This has resulted in them being reconnected to the community including two of them returning to school, which ultimately improves their lives and the community.

‘It also reduces demand on police resources.’

Youth crime intervention officers, stationed at Armadale Police, identify and select the most high-end young offenders, aged from 10 to 17, to be involved in Strong Tomorrow.

Those selected for the program are considered to be offenders responsible for a large percentage of overall offences in the area.

The youth workers offer practical day-to-day support, case-management programs, informal mentoring and role modelling.

Mrs Turner said because of the complexity of the young peoples’ needs, only four participants are currently involved in Strong Tomorrow.

She said she would like to see the program rolled out across Western Australia.

WA Police provided a $25,000 grant to fund the first six months of the pilot program.

Save the Children Australia will fund the next six months.

Permanent funding has yet to be secured for the project.

Other government agencies, including the Department of Education, have expressed interest in Strong Tomorrow.

Cost of prevention
– There are about 123 high-end young offenders in the South East Metropolitan district.
– The cost to WA police to investigate each offence is $2285, in addition to the cost of $645 per day to incarcerate a juvenile offender.
– Armadale Police youth crime intervention officer Kim Bryce said engaging a specific cohort of young offenders in Strong Tomorrow would result in significant savings to WA Police.