Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents took on Campbelltown cops in thrilling games of touch football last week.
The event, held on Wednesday, July 11, celebrated NAIDOC Week.
Campbelltown City Police Area Command hosted the free competition at Minto.
Crime prevention officer Senior Constable David Blom said the event was a great success.
“We had 23 teams compete in this year’s event compared to 16 teams last year,” he said.
“More than 350 people attended.
“The participation from community groups and local Aboriginal community was unprecedented.
“The atmosphere was vibrant and welcoming. Local Elder Aunty Joyce said the day was ‘just terrific and everyone was having fun'.
“Local community groups and services were welcome to take part and the day had a common community focus in mind.”
Senior Constable Blom said the police chose to hold a touch football competition because it was a popular game played in the community.
“The sport is a great way to connect with the Aboriginal community specifically,” he said.
“Police also had fun throughout the day and that helped residents relax and enjoy the day, which assists to break down any potential barriers in communication and culture.”
Senior Constable Blom said the event aimed to build new and strengthen old relationships between police and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
“Police played in the community teams not just against them,” he said.
“This shows that police want to work with residents and are willing to do whatever it takes achieve this.
“Police also attend in uniform, cook the food on the barbecue, assist in the running of the day and are out there talking to people.
“This helps break down any barriers that may exist which effects the effective and appropriate reporting of crime and essentially, trust.”
The theme of NAIDOC week, which is held from July 8 to 15, is ‘Because of her, we can!’
The event was held at Benhams Oval in Minto in partnership with Campbelltown Council.