Last week, Community Engagement Police Officer (CEPO), Constable 1/C Robert Cartmill had the opportunity to take NTFRS Senior Fire Fighter Paul Rubie and visiting Royal Papua New Guinea Police Constabulary (RPNGC) observers (Inspector Josephine Kumai and Chief Sergeant Abraham Hualupmomi) to some of the remote communities south of Katherine.
The purpose of the community safety visits was threefold:
- Fire safety lessons for the students of the five schools in the region; Barunga, Beswick, Manyallaluk, Mataranka and Jilkminggan (308 students in total). The fire safety messages included the ‘Smart Sparx’ program, information about grass fires and the importance of smoke alarms. The package was delivered in an engaging and fun way with younger children learning the importance of STOP, DROP, COVER and ROLL when trying to extinguish fires on clothes. All the children enjoyed watching Fire Fighter Paul put on his protective clothing in the quickest possible time (45 seconds was the best time recorded). Throughout the week the combined team had the opportunity to speak to the students in small groups and reinforce the fire safety message.
- The ‘Speak Up’ Campaign was also delivered to the students of the five schools. The purpose of this program is to inform community members of when and how to use the ‘000’ and ‘131 444’ numbers and what to expect when they dial these numbers. CEPO Robert Cartmill also had the opportunity to re-contextualise the story of ‘The Boy who Cried Wolf’ into the ‘The Child who cried Croc’ to emphasise the importance of not making prank calls to the triple zero number.
- RPNGC Inspector Josephine Kumai and Chief Sergeant Hualupmomi spoke to the students of the schools about police work in Papua New Guinea. They also explained the similarities and differences they have observed between the Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea. Inspector Kumai stressed the importance of school attendance and learning in building an educated and resilient community.
The messages were well received. Throughout the week, the team was ably supported by local Police – Sergeant Matt Ridolfi from Maranboy and Sergeant Thomas Chalk from Mataranka, who have made a very significant and ongoing contribution to improving school attendance and community safety and increasing engagement in Beswick, Barunga and Jilkminggan.
Remote Police remain committed to working with local remote school attendance officers, traditional owners, elders, community members, youth and service providers to improve community safety throughout the NT.