Bridging the gap

Bridging the gap

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Police took on Clontarf College for a game of Australian Rules Football last month.

Cannington Police said they were keen to host more sport competitions with local teams after a successful Australian Rules Football game against Clontarf College last month.

Cannington Cops football team took on Clontarf College on August 30 in the first of what is planned to be yearly games between the two sides.

Families attended the event, along with Federal Member for Swan Steve Irons and passers by who gathered at the Curtin University football ground for four quarters of tough but fair play.

After a shaky start Cops came out on top by the final siren, kicking 10.4 (64) to Clontarf’s 8.8 (56) to take bragging rights and the trophy back with them to the Cannington police station.

Western Australian Police community engagement coordinator Sergeant Matt Sharp said the event was a complete success.

“Everyone was really respectful,” he said.

“The thing that impressed me most was the game was played in a really good spirit, both teams went in hard but it was fantastic to see the sportsmanship and camaraderie between both teams.”

Sgt Sharp said the event was the first of several police had planned to organise in an effort to bring officers into contact with the community outside of emergencies.

He said sport was one of the most positive ways to build relationships with the public and on September 19 the WA Police Women’s Basketball Team will take on the Australian Islamic College Girls Basketball Academy at the school.

Mr Sharp said events like basketball competitions and the Cops vs. Clontarf football match allowed officers to meet the public face-to-face, and gave the force the chance to show off some of their equipment to curious eyes.

At the football match the police brought their special NAIDOC-painted police car and wore their Aboriginal art-inspired uniform designs.

Clontarf Aboriginal College is an exclusive Indigenous Australian school based in Waterford, an area patrolled by Cannington Police.

Mr Sharp said it was important to develop relationships between students, their families and their local police force.

“A lot of people got asked questions, some people even said they would like to become officers,” he said.

“It was a great avenue for police to work alongside the community but also to help us get close and personal in a non-threatening manner.

“We want to continue to build trust and have that relationship so we can address some of the larger issues in society.”

Mr Sharp said it was also a welcome change of pace for many of the officers involved in the match.

“Police have a difficult job and often have to see a lot of terrible things, people at their worst,” he said.

“For them to be getting some positive interaction with the community – they love it.”

WA Police Women’s Basketball Team will take on Kewdale Australian Islamic College Girls Basketball Academy on September 19 at 2pm at Kewdale Australian Islamic College.