Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders has congratulated officers attached to the Orana Mid-Western Police District on the success of Project Walwaay.
Mr Saunders joined Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott at Dubbo PCYC on Tuesday morning, where OMWPD commander Supt Peter McKenna outlined a 60 per cent reduction in recidivism during the first year of the program.
Project Walwaay is a proactive policing program that provides outlets for designated officers to work with at-risk youth in the community, and Mr Saunders said the proof of the program’s success lies in the statistics.
“I believe Project Walwaay sets a standard when it comes to police walking with our youth, rather than standing in front of them, and Peter McKenna and his team need to be congratulated for having the vision to create it,” he said.
“On Friday night, there can be up to 100 kids engaged in activities at the PCYC or other locations, and sometimes all these kids need is for someone to believe in them and take them out of the cycle of crime and other antisocial behaviour
“I would love to see the program expanded, and hopefully other police districts across the state can pick it up because it is changing lives and making our communities better places to live.”
Mr Elliott said the program is helping to point youth in the right direction.
“Project Walwaay has created the environment for positive change and growth for kids deemed at risk of entering the criminal justice system – activities include Friday fun nights, sporting programs and Aboriginal mentors,” he said.
“It has already achieved some extraordinary results, with a massive reduction in Aboriginal youth charged in Dubbo over the past year.
“The program is keeping kids on the right side of the law and empowering them to take their lives in a positive direction, whether that be by getting a job, going back to school or connecting with positive role models in their community.”