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WA Child Safety Police Emergency Services Award winner Tam McKeown 2

WA Child Safety Awards: Where are they now?

Senior Constable Tam McKeown

Constable McKeown has always been passionate about keeping WA children safe, and has devised and implemented two award-winning, highly successful and innovative child safety projects.

In 2012, Being Seen, Being Safe won the Constable Care WA Government Department & Agency Child Safety Award, and in 2015 he was awarded the Constable Care WA Child Safety Police & Emergency Services Award for his Students Advising Youth project. McKeown states that "we were humbled to be recognised by the Constable Care Child Safety Foundation.”

Being Seen, Being Safe is a road safety project in primary schools, which McKeown devised and ran throughout the State, in conjunction with SDERA (School Drug Education and Road Aware).

As a police officer for over two decades, McKeown has seen much of life’s tragedies first-hand. "Being Seen, Being Safe was originally launched in 2009 in the Mid-West, following the tragic death of a young child cyclist hit by a heavy haulage vehicle. I was involved in the aftermath of this incident, and  was driven to do what I could to prevent other families or communities from experiencing such heartache. The overriding ethos was protecting our community’s most valuable asset….our kids."The  project went on to become very successful project, and has since been run out to over 15,000 children, and has expanded into the Eastern States.

By 2013, McKeown had become the Crime Prevention and Community Safety Officer for Peel, engaging with over 100 schools in the area. During this time, he identified an important obstacle: youth can be reluctant to take advice from adults, but are more receptive to their peer group.

This realization led to the Students Advising Youth (SAY) project, which gives voices to youth so they can become part of the solution. It harnesses their imagination and creativity to educate other youth on crime/community safety issues, via the use of film and social media. The scheme has proven very effective and is now used in high schools throughout WA.  Watch the ABC story on SAY project 

McKeown found the experience of winning two Child Safety Awards to be “humbling” and “a pleasure”. He states that “what I enjoyed most about attending the Constable Care Child Safety Awards was seeing first-hand the passion, enthusiasm and commitment there is in our State focused towards enhancing the safety of children”, and that “nobody epitomises this more than the Constable Care Foundation”.

McKeown is now working as a domestic violence officer in the Victim Support Unit of Mandurah Police station, providing support to victims of domestic and family violence. He is looking forward to following the Child Safety Awards in future years as they continue to go from strength to strength, and hopes that Constable Care himself and all of his support staff “continue to be our State’s child safety champions in the decades ahead”.

McKeown is looking forward to following the Child Safety Awards in future years as they continue to go from strength to strength, and hopes that Constable Care himself and all of his support staff “continue to be our State’s child safety champions in the decades ahead”.

Words by Lara Silbert

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