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    FUN AT THE ‘G’: From left, Koby Willmore, Clayton Brown, Max Rohrsheim from Horsham West-Haven Primary School and front, Landon Gilbert, Horsham Primary School on a Lachie’s Legacy police trip to Melbourne.

ON THE BEAT: Building community connections

As members of Victoria Police  we perform a critical role in emergency response and enforcement.

However our work in engaging with all of our communities is also vital and in today’s column we are focusing on the role of our Proactive Policing Unit. 

This unit has a broad connection with the Wimmera community.

Horsham Police Service Area, including Horsham, Hindmarsh, West Wimmera and Northern Grampians service area has a team of proactive policing officers.

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As the name implies, proactive applies to officers who are part of a team that provides a proactive or crime-prevention approach in their duties. 

The team is made up of a sergeant and a team of five officers.  

The officers are usually referred to as proactive policing officers and each has a responsibility to a particular crime-prevention portfolio. 

The team’s manager, Acting Senior Sergeant Simon Grant, also holds the position of Agricultural Liaison Officer. 

This is very important given our rural location and the necessity to educate farmers around keeping their properties safe and guarding against theft, be it theft of stock or diesel fuel or other farming equipment. 

One of our members holds the portfolio for firearms safety – this of course links with the agricultural portfolio.  

The operational staff working in the unit might hold a specialist position or a proactive portfolio.

There is a Youth Specialist Officer who has a significant role in working with young offenders who might be causing a high degree of harm in their communities. There is also a Youth Resource Officer who provides a proactive response, particularly in school settings.

All members of the team, regardless of their title, work together to provide a proactive response within the community. 

This is to assist in providing an interventionist approach to potentially ward off serious offending, while ensuring that people are less likely to become victims of crime. 

The role is entirely varied – one day might involve a member addressing a kindergarten group on the role of police in the community. 

Another day might involve an address to licensed-premises staff on what to do in the event of an armed hold-up. 

In June this year a district kindergarten was lucky to have a very special visit from the Police Dog Squad. 

This provided the children with a unique opportunity to interact with police labrador Kevin.

Further, the visit enabled the children to identify the Victoria Police uniform and encouraged them that at a time when they might need help, that uniformed police were approachable and are part of a group of people who help in their community. 

More recently, the team worked with Lachie’s Legacy to provide an opportunity for 32 year-six students from each of the four primary schools in Horsham to travel to the MCG in Melbourne to watch an AFL game between Brisbane and Richmond.  It was a lot of fun.

Lachie’s Legacy, in honour of Lachie Poulter who tragically died of a heart attack while playing football for Dunnstown, provides opportunities for young people to be involved in football.

The team’s crime-prevention role features the running of local operations such as Safe Plate days in partnership with local hardware businesses, with assistance from community volunteers.

These operations involve the fitting of ‘one-way’ screws to vehicle number plates to decrease the theft of number plates, which in turn can flow on to a reduction in petrol-station drive-offs.  

While we’re speaking about vehicles, the warmer weather in September and October also brings a rise in thefts from motor vehicles.

It is acknowledged that the responsibility for these thefts lies with the offender but members of the public can take action.

This includes never storing items of value such as wallets, electronics, phones and loose change in your car.

Always make sure you lock your vehicle no matter where it’s parked.  

The entire September 11, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!