A statement about reporting of a recent incident in Coogee
Beaches Outreach Project (BOP) has become aware of a Channel 7 news report on Wednesday 3 October 2018 about a brawl involving youths in Coogee that occurred at about 10 pm on Monday 1 October 2018 (a public holiday). The incident is said to have involved up to either 25 or 50 young people (reportedly aged from 14 to 17), some of which was captured on phone camera footage. The incident and resultant debris has caused community concern.
Whilst the incident has been reported in various news forums BOP is concerned about a number of things said in the Channel 7 news item. It was said that (un-named) community leaders have serious concerns about a youth outreach program that buses kids from outside the area into Coogee for free, and which allows them to remain and be picked up at any time until 4 am. They are apparently calling for this to be urgently reviewed.
Whilst BOP has not been named it appears that we are the youth outreach program alluded to.
BOP wishes to clarify our night patrol service and notes the following;
BOP operates night patrols across the whole of the Eastern Beaches and surrounds on Friday nights only, from approximately 8 pm to 3 or 4 am on Saturday morning. This incident took place on a Monday night.
The night patrols on Friday cover areas within the Waverley, Randwick and Woollahra Council areas.
On the night patrols BOP has a clear rule that young people will not be transported to parties and gatherings. BOP will transport young people home from gatherings and parties, particularly if there is antisocial behaviour and/or police presence. BOP is particularly concerned when young people are at risk or are unable to access public transport.
BOP has had a presence at various times of Friday nights at Coogee beach and the surrounds for many years. We liaise with police and obtain information about gatherings of young people who need our services and potentially a lift home. BOP focuses on taking youth away from Coogee rather than into Coogee. Young people will gather at Coogee Beach or Bondi/ Maroubra beaches, and many other public places in the local areas, and have done for many years.
This recent incident at Coogee Beach highlights the importance of youth outreach such as provided through BOP.
It is unfortunate that the BOP service appears to have been misrepresented. We would welcome any opportunity to explain our service to any concerned community leaders. We have operated for 40 years across the Eastern Beaches and have been supported by a wide range of local organisations because they recognise the value of BOP’s services to the community.
Beaches Outreach Project is all about kids and our community
Beaches Outreach Project (BOP) operates in the Eastern Beaches area of Sydney from Vaucluse to La Perouse. We help young people stay safe. We help our community to be a safer place.
We know that adolescence is an exciting time for young people, but it can involve risk taking behaviour. BOP is there to support young people as they explore their freedom. The work of BOP reduces the possibility that young people, or others in the community, are exposed to physical or emotional harm.
BOP doesn’t wait for kids in trouble to come to us to ask for assistance. BOP conducts all its activities where young people already are – on the beachfronts, in the parks, around the malls, in the streets where they live and meet.
BOP connects to the kids who are unwilling or unable to use other support services. We are there for the kids who fall through the gaps or who have such complex needs that don’t fit into existing programs.
BOP employs youth workers who conduct night patrols to establish relationships with young people. BOP workers also provide daytime follow-up to support young people facing complex needs.
But what do they say about BOP...
Stories from the BOP bus
FROM THE WORKERS
Just last week, tensions were building up between two groups of young people. We were there with the BOP Bus. That meant we could quickly get some of the kids who were most vulnerable, and were contributing to the build-up of aggression, out of the area. One of those kids was a thirteen year old girl who was quite affected by alcohol. That felt very satisfying, preventing something potentially quite ugly happening. Sometimes it’s what doesn’t happen that is the mark of success of BOP’s work.
Diana, Youth Worker
BOP is unique because we can connect with young people who are too embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help from centre based services. Mark (not his real name) comes from a well off family, but that still doesn’t make it any easier for him to seek assistance for his mental health problems. BOP is around for kids like Mark. We go to the parks and beaches where Mark and his friends hang out. We provide support and information at a time and place and in a way that works for him.
From the kids
Sometimes the gatherings can get out of hand and heaps of guys get aggro on the grog and stuff. We can call the BOP Bus and get out of the area and get back home before it gets crazy. BOP has got us out of so many bad situations. Thanks BOP.
Paully picks us up after the movies and gets us home. He knows we don’t want to cross paths with certain girls that fight us and gets us from a quiet spot near the shops. We get good food too! Without BOP we wouldn’t feel safe to go out at all on Friday night. BOP’s a life saver.
Karlie and Georgia