Kids, Cops and Karts
Knowledge Circle Practice Profiles

Overview

Practice focus

Educating children and youth about respect and self-worth, which can be shared with peers in the local community while building enhanced relationships with local police.

Delivered by

South Australia Police

http://www.sapolice.sa.gov.au/sapol/community_services/aboriginal_and_multicultural_unit.jsp

The information provided for this Promising Practice Profile was supplied by a Sergeant at the Aboriginal and Multicultural Unit of the South Australia Police.

Service type

This youth crime prevention program is targeted primarily at school children and adolescents to prevent them from substance abuse, disfunctionality and vulnerability.

26% to 50% of the program's clients are reported as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Location(s)

Regional City: Whyalla, SA.

Description

The program uses go-karting to engage disadvantaged, vulnerable and at-risk children and youth to prevent them from causing problems in the Whyalla community. The aim is to teach young people to be responsible for their actions and to instill a sense of discipline in exercising their decisions while maintaining respect for others.

The need for the program was demonstrated by the numbers of children and youth who were coming to the notice of police for the wrong reasons.

Resourcing

Funding is provided through the local police and other sponsorship from private companies. The SA Department of Education and Child Development schools have also provided support by paying for children and youth to attend the progam in four week blocks. This assists in maintaining vehicles and equipment according to Australian Standards.

Practice

MOST promising aspect

The program enables the participating children and youth to model respect and self-worth to their siblings and peers. The program also helps to break down the perceived barriers between police and youth.

Other promising aspects

As there is also an education program that accompanies the driving, it engages children and youth at a level where they think about their own safety as well as the safety of others. Participants are taught a multitude of practical skills such as Occupational Health and Safety by performing safety checks on the karts and equipment, and behavioural skills are also enhanced by instilling a sense respect for themselves and for others.

Evidence base and opportunities

Building relationships and trust between the local police (as mentors) and vulnerable youths in the local community acts to prevent youth from entering the criminal justice system, while providing youth with enhanced behavioural abilities that can be shared and promoted among peers.

By providing interesting and practical activities for youth engagement, such as go-karting, opportunities exist to instill positive attributes that result in less crime and dysfunctional behaviour in the local communities. This applies to all youth regardless of ethnicity, and with the cooperation of local community stakeholders, can result in enhanced family and community capacity.

Cultural relevance

Involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups had already been developed with key partner agencies as part of the mandatory reporting requirements between police and other key agencies.

Out of every eight participants in the program, 2-3 are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and they all work in partnership with police.

Cultural practices and materials

Engagement strategies were developed to be culturally sensitive, yet disciplined, to further develop relationships among peers and with local police. Cultural awareness training is an ongoing program for all staff members.

Evaluation

Evaluation status

The program has not been evaluated and an evaluation is not planned for the immediate future.

Effectiveness

Demonstrated outcomes

The police reported that the number of children engaging in the program has increased and for participants there has been an improvement in behaviour, reduced truancy and diversion away from disruption and crime.

Other evidence

The Department of Education and Child Development schools have seen the value of the program and have responded by paying for children and youth to attend.

 

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