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By Kyra Gillespie

Police in Cardinia will be spending the day with approximately 100 school students next week as part of a project designed to increase connections with young people in the community.

The joint initiative will involve students aged 12 to 16 spending the day at Gumbuya World with a range of police officers who work in their community.

Inspector Shane Smith said police were looking to do more to connect with young people in the community.

“Often the best way to build rapport is through a fun, friendly and relaxed setting,” Insp Smith said.

“It’s an engagement exercise but we’ll also learn a lot from the students which will help to inform our future approach to community engagement.

“We want to know how young people perceive police and how they want us to interact with them in the future.

“Being more connected to all members of our community is our goal.”

The students will be from a number of local schools including Emerald Secondary College, Pakenham Secondary College, Koo Wee Rup Secondary College, St Francis Xavier and Officer Specialist School. The group will also include some young people from a Cardinia Shire youth program.

The initiative is part of the Community Safety Networks – a partnership project between the Victorian community, Victoria Police, Victorian Government, Crime Stoppers Victoria and Neighbourhood Watch.

The Community Safety Networks are designed to increase connection between police and the community.

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