Grassroots policing is no grind

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Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
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Shoppers were able to chat with Geraldton police and raise crime concerns over a cup of a coffee at Northgate Shopping Centre this morning.

As part of the ‘Coffee With A Cop’ program, police visit different locations across Geraldton in an effort to increase community engagement and spread awareness of their summer crime strategy.

Several Geraldton officers attended today’s event, with many curious shoppers stopping by to say hello, including Louise Clifford and her three-year-old son, Memphis Jones.

“It’s great because it shows the kids that the cops aren’t scary and are actually really approachable,” Ms Clifford said.

Midwest-Gascoyne District Police Superintendent Mike Bell said it was a good chance to understand community concerns and issues.

“A lot of the time when people call police it’s a conflict situation, or there’s some sort of emergency, so what we’re doing with this strategy is setting up a very approachable, encouraging environment,” he said.

“We’re saying ‘talk to us, tell us what your problems and concerns are’ and it’s also about us letting people know what we’ll be doing this summer to reduce crime.”

Acting Inspector Brad Bird said it was a great way for police and the community to get to know one another on a more personal level.

“It’s a good chance for people of all ages to come and talk with police in a relaxed environment,” he said.

“We’ll shout you a coffee and we can have a yarn with you about anything.

“It’s just so important for us as police to get back to basics – knowing our community and our community knowing us – and a lot of the people who come here do it because they’ve never had the chance to speak with a copper.”

The next Coffee With A Cop will be held at Stirlings Shopping Centre on November 28, from 10am to noon.

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