Youth who are stopped by police have one less reason to worry this summer: They may have been caught red handed doing good deeds.
North Vancouver RCMP will be handing out “positive tickets” to reward youth for good behaviour for things like wearing a helmet while skateboarding or helping their neighbours.
“It’s great to be approached by a police officer for a reason other than you’re getting in trouble for something, which I think is probably the expectation,” said Cpl. Peter DeVries, media liaison officer for the North Vancouver RCMP.
The tickets are handed out to youth under 18 years old and can be used for free admission to public skate and public swim sessions at North Vancouver recreation centres, as well as the open gym and climbing wall at Parkgate Community Centre and After School Sports at John Braithwaite Community Centre.
He said kids have responded well to the program, and hopefully will also be more open to talking to police when they have a problem.
“We want kids to assume when the police approach them that we’re there to help them and provide a positive influence on their life,” said DeVries.
He also said they hope to build up some positive peer pressure with kids. Last Friday, police handed out about 10 positive tickets to youth at the skate park on Lonsdale Avenue, but one youth wasn’t wearing a helmet that day.
“We were able to talk to him and say listen, this is what we’re doing, we’re giving out positive tickets to these kids because they’re wearing helmets and doing things correctly,” he said.
The program began several years ago in Richmond, said DeVries, and police have 6,000 tickets to hand out before the end of 2011.
Const. Michelle Luca, who manages the program, said they have noticed a lot of youth aren’t wearing helmets and that will be a focus, but they don’t want to punish people with fines, even though that’s part of their arsenal.
“The ones not wearing helmets are looking at them saying, ‘Well, I want that too.’ It’s a huge statement being made,” Luca said.
She’s also contacted youth workers and plans to have them involved in the program.
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