Qld cops given Courage to Care

QLD Police Service Chief Superintendent Debbie Platz, QPS education manager Paquita Rasmussen, Queensland University Professor Lorraine Mazzerole, Courage to Care NSW chair Andrew Havas and QLD Police Commissioner Ian Stewart at the award presentation.

MORE than 660 Queensland Police Service (QPS) cadets have completed an award-winning social tolerance and anti-discrimination program, tailor made for them by Jewish organisation Courage to Care.

In just its second year under the supervision of Courage to Care’s head of education Margaret Hall, the program has proven so successful it’s being provided to all new QPS recruits.

In September, it won the leadership category in the 2016 QPS Awards for Excellence.

Courage to Care NSW chair Andrew Havas told The AJN while the program’s effectiveness was predicted, the award win is a welcome surprise.

“We didn’t even know we’d been nominated for this, so it’s come a bit out of the blue for us,” Havas said.

“The QPS Courage to Care Program started a few years ago when Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart saw on the television news what it [the Courage to Care Program] is and asked could we develop a special program for them.

“It’s a credit to the whole Jewish team at Courage to Care in Queensland, which has grown to 28 volunteers and also does a lot of school program visits,” Havas said.

“They’ve visited 23 Queensland schools in the last two months and we send Holocaust survivors up from Sydney to accompany them whenever we can.”

Courage to Care’s flagship education program and travelling exhibitions use Holocaust survivors’ stories as an example to empower participants to take positive action in relation to discrimination and bullying in all its forms, from the schoolyard to the workplace and beyond.

In its 17th year, more than 205,000 people – half of them school children – have participated in the program run at 250 schools and 46 travelling exhibitions in 46 locations across NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

According to a study by Queensland University Professor Lorraine Mazzerole, the program specifically developed for QPS was found to be particularly effective in educating police recruits in strategies to reduce, address and prevent workplace harassment, stress, low morale and poor behaviour.

“Queensland University found that the program led to greater effectiveness in producing officers with attitudes that QPS would be proud of,” Havas said.

It is envisaged the QPS Courage to Care Program will continue in 2017 and beyond.

SHANE DESIATNIK