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NSW Police in partnership with PCYC are collaborating with NSW Legal Aid, State Revenue and Sydney Trains to help young people get back on track and pay off their transport fines.
Sutherland Shire has been chosen as one of the pilot sites to educate young people on the potentially lethal impacts of risky behaviour on trains, and to reduce the burden on Police resources in having to fine young people for travelling illegally on trains.
Local families attended a forum at PCYC Sutherland last month to listen to the Community Engagement Officer from Sydney Trains, Kylie Neville, detail dangerous activities such as running across tracks and 'buffering' - riding on the side of the trains.
"These illegal activities significantly impact the community ranging from cost to the public of graffiti removal, disruption of antisocial behaviour and potentially loss of life," Ms Neville said.
"Sometimes youth participate in dangerous behaviour not understanding what the full implications can be.
"Hopefully this workshop can help these young people understand the dangers these behaviours can have on themselves and the community".
Representatives from Police Transport Command Cronulla also spoke to the group, suggesting better behaviour choices that young people can make whilst using the rail network along the Illawarra line.
"Young people may not realise that transport fines will stop them from attaining their P-plates which in turn may prevent them from gaining employment," Ms Neville said.
On the back of a very successful implementation of the use of Work Development Orders for other PCYC/NSWvPolice programs under the NSW Police Commissioner's Rise Up Strategy, PCYC Sutherland is trialling a Work Development Order Scheme (WDO) with State Revenue where young people can work off their fines through volunteering at the PCYC or through activities approved through NSW Legal Aid.
Youth Case Manager Senior Constable Bernadette Andrikis said the WDO scheme is open to all young people under the age of 18yrs and is not means tested.
"If a young person receives a fine for a transport offence, marine offence, driving offence, the fine can be worked off in voluntary hours or engagement in programs through the WDO Scheme offered at PCYC Sutherland,. ' Constable Andrikis said
"We want to assist Young people in making the right choices and remove obstacles that can prevent them from getting their provisional drivers licence. PCYC.
" Sutherland has had over $15,000 in fines worked off by young people so far. By working off their fines, young people can learn consequences for their actions, give back to the community in a voluntary capacity and make new connections with youth support agencies."
Superintendent Mark Wall, Commander of the Youth and Crime Prevention Command said the initiative allows young people to not only work off their fines, it also teaches them about consequences for their actions.
"Together these two outcomes provide them the opportunity to contribute to the community as they transition into adulthood," Supt Wall said.
Senior Constable Andrikis encouraged the young people at the forum to consider engaging in the Fit For Life program run in the mornings at PCYC Sutherland and PCYC St George.
Fit For Life forms part of the NSW Police Commissioner's RISEUP Strategy, aiming to engage young people back into school, training and employment.
PCYC NSW CEO Dominic Teakle said one of PCYC's objectives in partnership with NSW Police is to build skills, character and leadership in young people.
PCYC welcomes the opportunity for young people to understand the consequences of their actions and have an opportunity to give back to the community while working off their fines.
See riseup.org.au for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on the Work Development Order Scheme see www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au or contact Sutherland Shire PCYC on (02) 9521 5690.
This article first appeared on www.theleader.com.au
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