By Bonny Burrows
There was an increase in police presence at Pakenham Central Marketplace on 4 October – but there was no cause for alarm.
Police officers from across the Cardinia Police Service Area were instead hosting their second Coffee with a Cop community event, supported by Neighbourhood Watch Cardinia.
From 1pm to 3pm, the cops shouted coffees for local residents who stopped by their stand to chat about local issues of concern, while Neighbourhood Watch was offering its one way number plate screws for a small donation.
Sergeant Kim Warburton said the initiative was a good way for police to connect with the local community.
“It’s about breaking down barriers and helping people realise that we are approachable despite all this,” she said, pointing to her armed uniform.
Neighbourhood Watch Cardinia secretary David Farrelly said the event helped residents put a human face to local law enforcement.
He said the area’s inaugural event, held in July, was “huge” with a “massive turnout which proved the area’s interest in tackling crime.
While the follow-up event was smaller, people still took notice, Mr Farrelly said.
He said the most common question asked at such events was what police were doing to fix crime.
“And that’s a very reasonable query,” Mr Farrelly said.
“And then when you say crime is down, they ask how did you do it.
“People are taking an interest in what’s happening locally.”
The Pakenham event was one of many held across the globe as part of International Coffee with a Cop Day.