Makes sense, doesn’t it, to get the police out of Police and Citizens Youth Clubs.
What the hell were they doing there in the first place? I mean, why would you want the police mixing with young people in a safe environment where they can get to know them, build a relationship and be a mentor for those in need of one?
All right, according to reports, the cops will still visit the centres to run certain programs. That’s very nice, and in the meantime they will be patrolling the streets wearing their authoritarian hats plus full battle kit and intimidating young and old for minor misdemeanours.
But before I get carried away, let’s remind ourselves.
The first PCYC was started in Sydney in 1937 as an initiative of the Rotary Club of Sydney and the Police Commissioner, William John MacKay.
The purpose of the club was to “provide a venue where boys could engage in healthy sporting, cultural and recreational pursuits and mix in a safe, non-confrontational environment”.
When I was a boy my home town Bridgetown did not have a PCYC and so I never attended a club, but many of my city friends did, learning to play badminton, table tennis and to box. Along the way they also built firm relationships with policemen who had a strong sense of community.
Let’s face it, if there is anything we need to work on, it’s a sense of community. As our cities explode and neighbours find less and less time for each other, community is what we need more off, not less. Having a friendly face stationed down at the PCYC, who happens to be in a police uniform, can only be a good thing.
However, we can’t stop progress and we must come to terms with the modern world and realise that such decisions are not made lightly, or by people on the ground, but by eminently sensible economic rationalists who have nothing else to consider but the budget.
It may well be a budget based on a very narrow view of the broader economic reality, but it’s theirs and they will stick to it. And they haven’t got time for fluffy stuff like community.
But, heed my warning, removing the P from the PCYC is just the start. Other removals will occur shortly.
Here are my predictions: The C will be taken from YMCA, the E will be removed from AEC, the D from the GSDC and the CI from the ACCI.
Finally, I know it’s frightening, but I do believe there will come a time, that in order to save printing costs and infrastructure expenditures, days will be removed from our calendars.