YOUTHS, police and boxing gloves: these three elements made up nine Tuesday afternoons at the Wanneroo Amateur Boxing Club from October to December as officers worked to dispel the negative perceptions teenagers sometimes hold of the police.
Youths aged 12 to 18 donned the gloves to learn about the sweet science in what police, while co-ordinating with MercyCare youth workers, hoped would become an exercise in self-belief.
Event organiser Senior Constable Mark Snow said the event had its difficulties particularly with the “harder kids”, but he labelled it an “extreme success”.
“It’s all about breaking down the issues with police and problem youth,” the Youth Crime Intervention officer said.
“The police supported it so they actually got into the ring with the kids.
“It teaches them a little bit about discipline and a little bit about sport and hopefully they’ll go on to re-engage with the Wanneroo Amateur Boxing Club.”
He said the sessions went back to the traditions of the PCYC, which had run boxing programs since its inception in the 1940s.
Given there was no longer a PCYC in the northern suburbs, the aim was to keep such programs alive.
He said there was a noticeable change in attitude from the youths after the classes.
“We see a behavioural change straight away,” he said.
“The way they’re responding to you by the end of it, they’re happy to talk and |let you know things in their life.
“On the last day some of the parents came along, so they were quite impressed.”
He expected the next police program to focus on the rebuilding of old bikes in the first school term of next year.