Police connect with community

SUPERINTENDENT Stuart Wilkins knows all about connecting with the community.

The commander of the Tweed/Byron Area Local Command was sent in to Macquarie Fields in Sydney after the 2005 riots to help police maintain peace and forge stronger ties with the community.

Now the commander is hoping to collaborate and consult with the North Coast community in an effort to find out people’s expectations of local police.

At its first community consultation day held last Thursday in Byron Bay, Superintendent Wilkins and other police officers from the local area command walked the streets talking to residents and business people.

A mobile police van was set up outside the Byron Bay Ambulance Station in Jonson Street where residents were encouraged to fill out a survey which was titled "Let Us Know What You Want".

Superintendent Wilkins said police wanted to know what the community expected of its police force and whether or not they felt safe in their homes and on the streets.

"We want to understand better what the community wants and what sort of a relationship people have their local police force," he said.

"Police want to talk about Schoolies, anti-social behaviour, security and other things that affect the community, and I am glad to say that after talking to people today, most of them say they feel safe in Byron Bay and are generally happy with the service police are providing.

"Of course, the police can always do business better and you can’t beat cops walking the beat."

Superintendent Wilkins said he would like to see more police on the streets and this would be the command’s focus, as well as more community consultations.

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