Monday, May 23, 2022

Police unite with councils for ‘back-to-basics’ campaign

Victoria Police has announced a new grassroots approach to neighbourhood policing across the state.

With Victoria returning to normal from the worst of the global pandemic, Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said a “back-to-basics” initiative will see Police increase their focus on the issues that matter most to local communities.

Victoria Police’s new Neighbourhood Policing model is now in place statewide, having been progressively rolled out from an initial eight areas last year.

It sees police engage with the local community to strengthen relationships, share intelligence and find out what issues people care about most. These are recorded in a community issues register with officers tasked to specifically address concerns and report back to residents on what’s been done, Victoria Police said in a statement.

“The global pandemic took up a lot of our focus over the last two years,” the Commissioner said.

“It’s time to reset and reconnect with the community.

“Our new back-to-basics approach is about making sure we’re listening to the community and tackling the issues they care about.

“Delivering on this commitment not only means we can get on top of issues before they become more serious but make people feel safe to go about their everyday business.”

He said Police will work with partners like local councils, community groups and government agencies when issues are more complex. Other initiatives such as local safety committees and CommSafe forums are also being set up in each police service area so members can directly discuss issues with the public and partner agencies.

“Neighbourhood Policing has allowed us to zero in on what matters to people in our area,” said Monash Neighbourhood Policing co-ordinator, Acting Inspector Ronelle Quin.

“It was clear we needed to focus on improving people’s perceptions of safety, particularly at night.

“We’ve put on extra patrols, worked with the council to improve lighting on back streets and engaged with local businesses to boost safety.

“We’ve seen a significant reduction in street robberies and from the feedback we’ve received people feel a lot safer as a result of these initiatives,” she said.

The initiative has already been used in Clayton to tackle a spate of street robberies targeting students and healthcare workers walking to the train station.

Police conducted additional patrols in the area, teamed up with the local council to improve lighting on back streets and had messages conveying important safety advice placed on footpaths. As a result, robberies have dropped from a peak of more than 20 a week to fewer than one a month, Victoria Police said.

Neighbourhood Policing has also enabled Police to stop illegal beach parties along the foreshore at Half Moon Bay and Black Rock, combat monkey bike hoons plaguing public reserves in Frankston and deter offending around retail precincts in Ballarat.

Victoria Police is also embarking on a major effort to hear what Victorians want from Police, with a community sentiment survey covering every local government area within the state launching today. The survey will gauge how safe people feel, their ideas to improve safety, how they want to engage with police and how comfortable they feel approaching police and PSOs.

At the height of Victoria’s pandemic response more than 1,600 Police and PSOs were involved in dedicated COVID-19 activities, with the figure now around 50.

For more information about Neighbourhood Policing go to the Victoria Police website, police.vic.gov.au/neighbourhood-policing.

Victoria Police’s community sentiment survey is now live at https://engage.vic.gov.au/annual-vicpol-community-sentiment-survey-2022.

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