Why first impressions count

Why first impressions count

HOWARD BROAD

School fairs and community events have always had a place in police activity.
 
Whether it's a display by dog handlers, officers showing police cars to children or driving them around, participation is an important part of community policing.
 
Research tells us a young person's first interaction with a police officer creates a strong and lasting impression. Whether it's a positive or a negative experience, it leaves an image that can last well into adulthood.
 
Taking part in community events helps police build positive connections. That makes a huge difference if the young person is ever involved with police as a witness, a victim of crime, or an offender.
 
Every day, over 440 Youth Services staff work with children and young people aged 5-17.
 
Youth Education officers teach primary-age children about making good choices, bullying, road safety and looking after themselves. Youth Development and Youth Aid staff focus on young people who show signs of serious antisocial behaviour or are offending.
 
Police in every district either run their own initiatives for young people or support the work of organisations like Blue Light. Here's a couple of recent success stories -
 

  • Police joined Bay of Plenty Steamers rugby team to visit primary schools. They talked to children about keeping safe and playing by the rules, finishing with a game of touch rugby.

 

 

  • Since police have been based at schools in South Auckland and Hamilton schools, school staff report reduced violence and improved attendance levels.

 

  • Forty cadets from the armed services aged 16-18 attended a leaders course at the police college for leadership and teamwork training. These young people will work voluntarily as leaders in their communities.