Policewoman retires after 21 years

Connecting with and giving at-risk youth a second chance is one of the things Senior Constable...
Connecting with and giving at-risk youth a second chance is one of the things Senior Constable Jan Coffey has enjoyed about her job in Mosgiel for the past seven years. Photo by Samantha McPherson

Senior Constable Jan Coffey will miss working with at-risk youth in Mosgiel.

The Youth Aid Officer, who has spent 21 years in the police, will step down from her role of seven years in Mosgiel at the end of the month for family and personal reasons.

Snr Const Coffey spent seven years in Wellington doing general duties and seven years in South Dunedin dealing with inquiries before working in Mosgiel.

''I work with at-risk youth under 17 that have committed any offences, are causing problems or their family might have concerns about a young person. We look at options and alternative options. I keep youth out of court if I can,'' she said.

The role involves assessing each case and determining what the most appropriate manner to deal with a young person is.

''I work with a number of organisations including Child, Youth and Family, schools, counsellors and health services. We have a range of options that we consider and we also create alternative action plans, which addresses the victim's, community's and the young person's needs.''

One of the most rewarding things about the job was seeing youth progress down the correct pathway, she said.

''Often the kids are really good. You can tap into something that they will relate to. They always come and say hello. Getting young people into sport and going along to watch them play, seeing them excel at things that they thought they could never do is very rewarding,'' she said.

Snr Const Coffey said communities working together to help young people was important.

''It is important. The idea is that communities should work together and help these young people and find alternatives for them and keep them out of trouble.''

Snr Const Coffey said Mosgiel was a ''good community'' and it was a job she would miss.

''It's a good community. Everyone rallies around and gets behind people and community projects. That is really important. I will miss it but it's time to go after 21 years in the police,'' she said.

- by Samantha McPherson 

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