COFFEE WITH A COP: Grafton Senior Constable Paul Johnston enjoys a chat with Swan Creek local Bob Green.
COFFEE WITH A COP: Grafton Senior Constable Paul Johnston enjoys a chat with Swan Creek local Bob Green. Clair Morton

Improving community ties one cuppa at a time

CLARENCE Valley police have set out to improve relationships with community members, and they are doing it one cup of coffee at a time.

Yesterday morning, it was their shout at Gloria Jeans in Grafton Shoppingworld as they prepared for the region's first Coffee With A Cop, as part of a statewide initiative to strengthen relationships with the public.

Coffs/Clarence local area commander Superintendent Mark Holahan said the overall response to the event was better than they expected, with plenty of people taking the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with one of about eight officers.

Most importantly, these conversations were being conducted in a relaxed environment.

"There's no pressure on anyone, and it's an opportunity for some members of community to speak to me as a commander.. and just to tell us what their major concerns are," Supt Holahan said.

"Some discussions have related to victims of domestic violence and where they can seek help, suspected areas of crime and traffic matters. Any information we get is always a little piece of a puzzle we need, but whether it's solving crime or not it doesn't matter, as long as we can give people a contact point.

"While I deal in facts and figures it is also important for me to understand what impacts and hurts our community and what I can do to make the community safe and secure into the future."

Supt Holahan indicated that the success of the event may lead to their increasing regularity in the future.

Fairfield Local Area Command, the first in NSW to adopt the initiative which was first seen in the United States, hold Coffee with a Cop once a month in different locations.

"I think we'll go away and have a look at it," Supt Holahan said.

"We need to look at communities like Maclean and Yamba and see how we can refine it further and access a lot more people."



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