Despite making the move from the Kimberley to the South West, a police officer has been recognised for his long-running engagement with local youth. Nathan Smith was recently named a finalist for a WA Police Excellence award in the individual category during his tenure at Broome Police Station before moving to Busselton. Senior Constable Smith was nominated alongside Brevet Sergeant Jesse Bill from Warmun and Merredin-based Sergeant Andy Galbraith. The nomination comes three years after Sen. Const. Smith was nominated for the award in 2018. Speaking to the South Western Times, Sen. Const. Smith said while the nomination was unexpected, it was definitely a plus to see his work recognised. “There’s a lot of negative things that can happen with tackling youth crime but it is great to see things that have gone right are being recognised,” he said. “Some of the stuff we were doing was on the right track and there is still some work to go within that space.” During his tenure in Broome, Sen. Const. Smith spent his time as a youth policing officer, motivated to engage with and maintain an honest relationship with local youth. “We found that being a constant in their life is the biggest mainstay of providing that relationship,” he said. “While we couldn’t effectively stop all offending, we certainly had breakthroughs with some of the kids we had been working with where they just needed people in their lives to provide that steady and stable support. “Just being there and available and not in that negative connotation where we would just lock everyone up all the time will prove that we can help kids out. “If we don’t have significant resources poured into youth policing, there would be a breakdown in that relationship and a lack of trust. “A relationship is not built in six months, it takes time.” Sen. Const. Smith has been working as a patrol officer in Busselton since moving from Broome, however, he hopes to be able to return to a youth policing role in the South West. “It’s certainly something that I enjoy,” he said. “It is a different cohort down here but it is something I have a big passion for and hopefully I will be able to bring my experience to the table.” In a statement from WA Police, the Busselton-based officer was nominated for his focus to engage and guide youth. “Sen. Const. Smith is both motivating and encouraging of young people to be their best self,” it read. The finalists named for the team category award were Fitzroy Crossing Police Station, Northampton Police Station and the Armadale-based Child Abuse Squad. The WA Police Excellence award winners will be announced during a breakfast event at Optus Stadium on December 9.