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Some of the 10 officers who were on hand to speak with the community during Thursday’s ‘Coffee with a Cop’ event in Grafton. L-R Steven Pope, A McLeod, Coffs/Clarence Commander, Superintendent Mark Holahan, P Hughes and P Johnston. IMAGE: Lynne Mowbray

Coffee with a Cop

Some of the 10 officers who were on hand to speak with the community during Thursday’s ‘Coffee with a Cop’ event in Grafton. L-R Steven Pope, A McLeod, Coffs/Clarence Commander, Superintendent Mark Holahan, P Hughes and P Johnston. IMAGE: Lynne Mowbray

Around 10 police officers were on hand to talk with members of the community in Grafton, during last Thursday’s State wide police initiative ‘Coffee with a Cop’ event.
The inaugural event was welcomed by the general public who enjoyed a complimentary coffee [on the police] whilst talking to them, at Gloria Jean’s coffee outlet in Grafton Shoppingworld.
Speaking with Coffs/Clarence Commander, Superintendent Mark Holahan during the event, he said that the purpose of the event, to him as Commander, was important.
“It gives me the opportunity, in the limited time I have available, to sit down and talk to members of the community about concerns that they have,” said Superintendent Holahan.
“This is the first event conducted state wide, so we’re participating today in a state wide initiative… ‘Coffee with a Cop’.
“Coffee with a Cop’ started in Fairfield [in Sydney] with Superintendent Peter Lennon there, after he visited a police force in the United States.
“The commission’s executive team thought that it was such an important initiative that right across the State today in every local area command there are senior police and police out talking to their communities about community issues and their own little concerns that they have.”
The LAC’s ‘Coffee with a Cop’ event, which was held earlier in the day at Coffs Harbour, also proved to be a success.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with the response that we’ve had, the information that we’ve received and some of the issues we’ve been able to address with people.
“So I’ll go away and talk to the police that have organised today’s event and look at some ways to streamline it.
“We can’t be everywhere at any one time. There are some communities that have missed out that are just as important to us, so we’re going to look at ways of how we can get to those communities and how we make ourselves available to them.”
The Independent asked Superintendent Holahan what he was hoping to achieve from today’s event.
“For me as a commander it’s about the information that we receive, in terms of reducing crime.
“It’s about listening to people about areas that make them feel unsafe or not secure in their homes or community and what we can do about that.
“We’ve been given a lot of information in relation to domestic violence issues and also some information in relation to drug activity.
There has been a lot of information about drink driving activities and some people just asking questions that they wouldn’t ordinarily get a chance to ask.
“We’re lucky that we’ve had some specialist police that we could refer those people to.
“Some people just feel uncomfortable in either coming into the station or ringing us and this is an opportunity for them to come and ask us questions as well.
“Sometimes people don’t want to impose on the police.
“Some people will sit at home and have a little issue that’s a concern to them and they don’t know where to turn and we’re hoping that these type of days will give them an opportunity.
“It’s about them being able to put a face to a name, so importantly for me as a commander, is that people know I’m the commander and that at the end of the day I’m the person who’s ultimately responsible for all policing activities, and if they’ve got good words to say well good on them and if they’ve got bad things to say then it’s important that I listen to them as well.
“A lot of the community think that I am based at Coffs Harbour but in all reality I have an office in Grafton as well.
“So if people need to get access to me [personally], then their first port of call is through a duty officer and the Duty Officer in Grafton is Jo Reid.”
See ‘Positive outcome from Crime Prevention meeting’ story on page 6.

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