Deniliquin Police will challenge local Indigenous youth in friendly basketball matches as part of a new initiative.
With children of his own and a passion to assist local youth, Senior Constable Paul Ebsworth said he requested the role of Deniliquin Police Youth Liaison Officer (YLO).
Snr Const Ebsworth (pictured) has previously worked in general duties policing and criminal investigations.
He joined the Police Force 11 years ago and has worked in the Deniliquin Police Command for four years — two years at Balranald and now two years at Deniliquin.
As well as being the YLO, Sen Const Ebsworth has taken on the role of Domestic Violence Liaison Officer.
He said the two roles combined represent the key areas he would like to improve as a police officer.
‘‘I’ve dealt with domestic violence before and have seen what it does to people and families,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s something I want to try and reduce as much as I can.
‘‘In the youth part, I liaise with outside groups and agencies to help divert young people away from criminal acts. But if those young people do offend, I deal with them and the agencies.
‘‘It’s about trying to engage the youth and letting them know we (police) are the good guys.’’
Sen Const Ebsworth already has great ideas of programs and initiatives he wants to get up and running for Deniliquin and district youth.
‘‘I hope to get the Bluelight (Disco) back in town and I intend to work with other agencies on other programs .
‘‘I also hope to work in with Highway Patrol to offer driver education programs.’’
Former YLOs have suggested starting a Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) in Deniliquin, but Sen Const Ebsworth said police could work in with other organisations to offer the same activities instead.
‘‘I’d rather work in with the YMCA than start a new PCYC,’’ he said.
‘‘They have already developed a good relationship in the community.’’
Being only new to the role, Sen Const Ebsworth said it may take some time for any of the programs to begin.
In the meantime, he will be working with Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre to reintroduce the ‘police versus indigenous youth’ basketball round robin tournament.
‘‘Yarkuwa came to me with the idea, and I said ‘let’s do it’,’’ he said.
‘‘At the moment I have 10 police officers organised, and I believe Yarkuwa have about 20.
‘‘It’s about increasing the communication level between youth and the police, and to show them we don’t always wear the blue uniform — we’re normal people too.
‘‘We hope it will become an annual event, with a possibility of expansion in the future.’’
The basketball competition will be held Saturday, February 2 at the Deniliquin Sports Stadium, from noon.
A barbecue will be provided and Sen Const Ebsworth said community support for the event would be welcomed.
He also encouraged the community to come along.
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