Breaking down the barriers

POLICE from the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command have used a day of fishing to help build relationships with the area's Aboriginal youth.

Staff from the Lake Illawarra LAC held a fishing workshop for Aboriginal youths in the area aged eight to 14 as part of their ongoing Cops & Koori Kids programs.

"This is our second Cops & Koori Kids Workshop, this one we've got the kids out fishing, it gives us a chance to engage with them and also teach them a bit about one of the more popular sports in Australia," Inspector Steve Johnson from the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command said.

While the workshop is a chance for the police to strengthen their ties with the local Aboriginal community, they also hope introducing the children to fishing will help them in other ways as well.

"It's one of the ways we can engage with kids that's a bit different from a formal thing in a classroom and that helps break down some of the barriers," Inspector Johnson said.

"Also, if we can get kids into activities such as fishing, hopefully that will keep them from getting involved in anti-social behaviour."

Uncle Gerald Brown from the Illawarra Koori Men's Group also heaped praise on the workshops.

"It's important that we can work as close as possible with the police and it's a great way to teach the kids some of our culture," Uncle Gerald said.

"We're teaching them some of our traditional ways of fishing and teaching them a bit about our culture as well. They're all good kids, so this is a good way for us to get them to respect our culture and the police."

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