An idea rooted in Richmond is being revived.
Local RCMP are joining forces with the City of Richmond’s Youth Services and community partners in an updated Positive Ticket for Youthcampaign. The goals is to provide youth with more recreational activities, and thus “getting caught doing something right.”
Richmond RCMP first launched the initiative in 2001, unaware at the time the concept would be adopted by many agencies throughout North America.
When first introduced, the idea of positive ticketing seemed a bit of an oxymoron, and the general response of recipients was one of surprise. Even now, police issuing tickets for positive or good behaviour is sometimes met with bewilderment.
The relaunch of the program in Richmond with feature some enhancements. RCMP officers and other community service providers, such as youth development staff, support workers, school councillors and social workers, will be able to hand out newly-designed positive tickets to young people up to the age of 18.
Youth able to get their hands on one of these tickets will enjoy just rewards. The tickets will allow them access to a free drop-in at a participating community facility for an activity such as:
• pitch and putt golf
• fitness workout
• sports open gym
By participating in sports and recreation, the positive ticket program aims to foster healthy, active and involved lifestyles for Richmond youth while also being socially connected within the community.
Positive ticketing is also meant to build a bond between youth and the police.
“It's a great feeling when we(officers)are in the high schools and youth aren't afraid or embarrassed to talk with the police. Usually they will high five us or come up and chat, it's a great opportunity to reward them with a positive ticket,” said Cst. Tammy-Lyn Walker of the Richmond RCMP youth section. “The youthare just used to us being part of theirschool community and they know we arethere if they need us. “The relationship building is so important and the positive ticket helps that connection.The youthknow you’re not there to justbust them or to judge them, but to help them make those great decisions that will impact their future. Even at times when they have possibly made a mistake, they own up to it because of the relationship they have built with their school liaison officer. That'sthe Richmond RCMP'sgoal here.”
Walker said officers want the youth, along with thecommunityas a whole, to not be afraid to talk to police.
“The City of Richmond is proud to continue to support this innovative program,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “It both supports our commitment to having police services that connect to our community and our own youth services plan, which focuses on helping youth develop the life skills to have a safe and healthy journey into adulthood.”