Yamba community rallies to fight youth crime
BY ADRIAN MILLER
INVOLVING youth in the decision-making process to curb anti-social behaviour was a key message to come out of the law and order forum held in Yamba on Tuesday night.
Hosted by Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell, and attended by nearly 200 people, the forum provided an opportunity for the Yamba community to raise concerns and ask what was being done to solve the problem.
The gathering heard from Coffs-Clarence acting local area commander Paul Fehon, Clarence Valley Council acting general manager Ken Boyle, Nungera Co-operative Society manager Trevor Kapeen and Feed the Kids program co-founder Des Flatley.
Many issues were raised, including parents taking responsibility for their children, underage drinking and the supply of alcohol to minors and police resources.
Another main point of discussion was the belief young people needed to be included in discussions, and made to feel the community was working with, not against, them.
Supt Fehon said police had already implemented a number of measures to try to curb the problem behaviour, and would continue to do so.
He pointed to employing a youth liaison officer to talk to school children, the use of the Coffs Harbour Police and Community Youth Club mobile van in Yamba over the next two weekends, more police for Maclean and Iluka and a crackdown on the supply of alcohol to minors as examples. Mr Kapeen spoke passionately about the need for both the indigenous and white communities to work together.
He said his land council would be willing to donate land which could be used for a youth centre or similar project.
Mr Boyle said the council was looking at implementing a Valley-wide crime prevention plan, as well as a Lower River working group.