Enhancing positive relationships between young people and the Police was the driving force behind the SA Police internship Program with SYC in the early 1980’s.

Under the leadership of Max Kau, SYC was advocating for young people within community groups, including SA Police. Max said SYC worked to break down any barriers that existed between them.

“SYC had a productive relationship with SA Police that strengthened over time.

“SYC would work with officers to assist and advocate young people in trouble with the law and SA Police would also refer young people to us if they needed support.

“I was invited by SA Police to regularly lecture new recruits. It was important to both organisations that police officers were aware of the issues effecting young people, as ultimately it would help them to do their job well,” he said.

The young cadets came to SYC and worked alongside youth workers to learn about the barriers that young people were experiencing. This included unemployment, unstable housing, lack of recreational activities and relationship breakdowns with families. They also learnt about the programs and services that SYC provided to support young people in the community.

Michael Murphy was the first police cadet to intern with SYC and the three-week placement provided him with the opportunity to work with staff and volunteers. Michael said it was an invaluable experience to connect with young people seeking support.

“I was not aware of the difficulty so many young people faced finding employment at that time,”

“When I finished school, my friends and I chose what careers we wanted to pursue and went straight into work. I didn’t realise there were so many young people struggling in South Australia. It was great to see firsthand the work SYC was doing to support young people.

“My time with SYC definitely made me a better police officer,” he said.

In recent years, SYC and SA Police have worked closely together through community engagement initiatives like the SAPOL’s Community Constables program and Blue Light. SA Police and SYC have maintained a positive working relationship and sought to be consultative in both a community space and as advocates when working with young people.