Tackling the big issues over a cuppa

By Ashlea Knickel and Penny Hoffmann, The Observer
Original article HERE

CAFE ATMOSPHERE: Police Liaison Officer Michelle Murray and Senior Constable Wendy Brooks at Gladstone's fourth Coffee with a Cop at Jamaica Blue, Stockland.GLADSTONE residents had the opportunity to sit down with a police officer over coffee yesterday, for Gladstone’s fourth Coffee with a Cop.

The event was held at Jamaica Blue at Stockland where members of the Gladstone public could get involved.

Coffee with a Cop is a unique opportunity for the public to ask local police questions over a cup of coffee.

Senior Constable Wendy Brooks said it was a way of trying to interact with the community on an informal level.

“It’s a bit less scary, members can come speak to us where they wouldn’t normally feel comfortable coming to the police station,” she said.

Police see Coffee with a Cop as a chance to connect with locals and gain an understanding of what they can do to help the community.

However, many young people also come along to ask about recruitment strategies, volunteering and what they can do to be part of the police force.

Senior Constable Brooks said there were questions about recruiting and how to become a police officer.

“We find it’s very positive,” she said.

“We don’t get many people coming up to us and sharing negative experiences.

“We’ve had a few young people wanting to be police so it’s really positive and energising.”

The event also helps police by allowing them to better understand the needs of the community.

“If we get enough information we can look at some proactive strategies that we can implement as police,” Constable Brooks said.

“It also allows the police to further encourage members of the public to reach out and report crimes.”

Coffee with a Cop is open to everyone and has been held three times already this year.

It has previously been held at Muffin Break and Bunnings.

Any business interested in hosting its own Coffee with a Cop can contact Wendy Brooks.

If you wish to anonymously report a crime, call Crime Stoppers on 1800333000 or at crimestoppers.com.au.

If it is an emergency call Triple 0 (000).