Shred safe, kids!

Local skaters, including (back from left) Ryan Milner, 14, Benjamin Eggers, 10, Korey Wright, 12, Hayden Swan, 8, Jaxon Swan, 10, (front right) Marley Pomray, 12, and (on the scooter) Jordan Ainslie, 14, are embracing the new ‘Shred Safe’ campaign. Smithton Police Constable Will Smith and Rural Health youth and community worker Dudley Billing say the initiative has improved behavioural incidents at the Smithton Skate Park. Picture: Ashleigh Force. 

Skate. There’s cool, and then there’s shredding safe.

The latest collaboration between Smithton Police and Rural Health, ‘Shred Safe’, aims to promote positive behaviours and rewards those who demonstrate the right attitudes.

The campaign was launched in September this year in response to reports of antisocial behaviour and vandalism. Smithton Police has also increased presence in the area following a series of issues at the skate park.

Constable Will Smith says since the launch there has been a noticeable shift in youth’s perception and respect for authority.

“One will skate over and say g’day,” he says, “then his mates will follow; it only takes one or two to break down those barriers.

“It’s a step in the right direction to eradicating unsociable behaviour that’s for sure. If we can encourage a constructive relationship, they’ll be less inclined to distrust police.”

Rural Health youth and community worker Dudley Billing said Shred Safe’s weekly prizes are further encouragement to stay on the right track.

“The response so far has been really positive,” he said.

“The anecdotes that have come out of it, for example [one boy] was trying to perfect a trick and when he did he was rewarded with new scooter wheels. He ran straight home to show his dad.

“That’s what we want to encourage.”

Constable Smith said he believed the area was an important social environment for the community’s youth.

“We think it is a safe place and it is only going to improve.

“It’s also great to see so many more kids in helmets!”

At last Thursday’s (November 17) monthly council meeting, councillors resolved to install security cameras at Smithton Skate Park to record activity at the park and surrounding locations in a further bid to eradicate antisocial behaviours.

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