Police Dive Squad teaching at-risk kids water safety

Police Dive Squad teaching at-risk kids water safety

The Police Dive Squad usually take to the water to investigate crimes, but today they had a different assignment - providing expert advice to a group of at-risk children as part of a special school holiday activity.

The 11 kids were taking part in the Tuakana Teina buddy programme in Wellington, which focuses on water safety for Maori and Pacific Islanders.

Police say it's about helping youth that may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn water safety skills.

It also aims to teach self-esteem, discipline and respect to at-risk youth.

"A good majority of these families come from areas where the exposure with police is potentially negative," says organiser Anthony Carter from the Consultancy, Advocacy and Research Trust.

"Having the police involved breaks down those barriers."

The children are referred by police from youth aid, or chosen from families who would benefit from the course.

"Giving them something to aspire to, showing them other options that are out there, life choices," says Senior Constable Paul Ferguson from the Police Dive Squad.

The programme is run by police and the Consultancy, Advocacy and Research Trust. It's hands-on and police work alongside the children, but those involved in the dive today didn't seem to mind.

"It's cool as just having them here, supporting us, teaching us is a really big thing to us," says student Bruce Tuuga.

And what better teachers for your first dive lesson than the Police Dive Squad.

"It's actually a huge honour… It's quite a big thing."

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