Residents calls for more “boots on the ground” in meeting with police

Brendan Rees

Southbank has hosted its first successful police community meeting as part of a new initiative aimed at focusing on issues that matter most to residents and improving safety.

About 20 residents gathered at the Boyd Community Hub on May 29 where Sergeant Dinah Tremain of Melbourne East Police Station listened to their experiences and answered questions about community safety.

Hosted by the Southbank3006 residents’ group, the two-hour meeting discussed topics such as hoon driving activity, traffic issues including “antagonistic” driver behaviour, anti-social behaviour, graffiti and calls for a stronger police presence in the streets.

The forum comes after Victoria Police recently launched a Neighbourhood Police model in the community as part of a “back-to-basics” approach to tackle crime and support community safety.

Sgt Tremain is coordinating the initiative across the Melbourne police service area, which includes Southbank.

The model works by local police stations keeping a register of issues, which officers will be tasked to address before reporting back to residents on their progress.  

Southbank3006 vice-president Jannine Pattison said the inaugural meeting was a great opportunity to engage with the local police and have their voices heard on issues they “face every day in Southbank.”

“A hot topic of the afternoon forum was traffic management, or the lack of,” she said.

“There was great discussion regarding the need for red light or speed cameras at the Power St-Kavanagh St intersection, as well as City Rd at the St Kilda Rd underpass.”

Ms Pattison added it was “clearly identified” that residents hoped to see more “boots on the ground” including better traffic enforcement during peak hours and targeting anti-social behaviour on Friday and Saturday nights.

While she acknowledged police stations were limited by officer numbers, Ms Pattison said, “What we require is ‘proactive approach to policing and not reactive policing’ in Southbank.”

But she said the “biggest take away” from the meeting was for residents to report any incidents which police could act on.

Sgt Tremain told Southbank News she was impressed by the level of engagement at the meeting, which was an important step in building ongoing relationships with the community.   

“I just hope to further develop good communicating relationships between the police and the community and enable that easy conduit for people to share their safety concerns,” she said.

Sgt Tremain said the request to have more police on the streets “definitely came across very strongly” and while police do run a number of operations, she will be “putting forward” a proposal to have more late-night patrols conducted so people feel safer.

“E-scooters and bikes regularly came up at the meeting. The speed at which they travel down Southbank Promenade was making people feel unsafe as they whizz past,” she said.

“This is obviously something we are looking at and we are targeting the e-scooters on a regular basis.”

Sgt Tremain said residents also reported privacy concerns around drones flying over apartment buildings, which she reassured she would follow up and report back to the community.

She said drone activity and other complex issues raised at the meeting would require more than just police – with involvement from council or government departments also critical.

“It’s about connecting with other stakeholders and together coming up with a solution that will help to resolve the issue.”

Southbank3006 will hold its next community meeting at The Assembly Hall at Boyd Community Hub at 2pm on June 26.

Meanwhile, Sgt Tremain attended a Southbank safety and security meeting on June 7 on behalf of Southbank Police Station commander Senior Sergeant Alex O’Toole.

The meeting at the Boyd Community Hub heard from community stakeholders and the City of Melbourne who discussed issues regarding affordable housing and people experiencing homelessness. •

 

Caption: Sergeant Dinah Tremain and Southbank3006 vice-president Jannine Pattison.

Photo: Murray Enders.

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