Police go “back-to-basics” in new community grassroots approach

Brendan Rees

Local police are going “back-to-basics” to tackle crime and support community safety under a new initiative to be launched in the CBD.  

The “Neighbourhood Policing” model will see police work closely with the community and act on safety concerns.

Victoria Police Sergeant Dinah Tremain, who will coordinate the Neighbourhood Policing initiative for the Melbourne police service area, said the initiative was “about going back to true grassroots policework.”

“We’re not just listening to the community but following through on their concerns and tasking police to deal with them,” she said.

“We’ll then report back to the community on what has been done.”

“The community should be assured we’re listening and will continue to listen. Importantly, we’ll also act and make sure they know when we do.”

A local safety committee involving police, the City of Melbourne, and local groups has been formed and will meet for the first time in June.   

The committee will help police determine and prioritise what issues are of most concern to residents, businesses, and visitors in the Melbourne police service area.   

Local police stations will keep a register of issues that matter most to their local communities, which will then be assigned to officers to address, with residents to receive progress reports as they become available.

Police will work with partners such as the City of Melbourne, community groups and government agencies when issues are more complex.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Hansen said the new initiative, which was being rolled out across the state, was ensuring Victoria Police “get the basics of police work right to prevent and deter crime.”

“Police serve the community and we must be accountable to their needs and safety concerns,” he said.

The City of Melbourne’s city safety, security, and amenity manager Dean Robertson said the council was “truly happy to be involved” in the Neighbourhood Policing program, adding safety was a “huge issue.”

“It really is about doing something; when things are raised there are action items taken,” he said.

“[It’s about] how do we do things differently, and how do we look at a way to try and make sure even the perception of safety is okay,” he said in an address to the EastEnders CBD residents’ group meeting in April.


The city is overall pretty good but if you have an experience or if you see something your perception becomes your reality – and that’s the stuff we need to deal with, so we’re working on that.


Mr Roberston said the council had begun engaging with the community, with international students being among the first to provide their thoughts on safety.

“We interviewed 20 [students] … they were reporting to us when they go out, they really think about where they’re going to go, what they’re going to do, what time they will be home and ‘should I be home?’”

“It might be 25 degrees out there, but I think I’ll take my umbrella as a means for defence … I’m not advocating that … that’s some of the things we’ve heard.”

Victoria Police has launched an online community sentiment survey to hear what issues are of importance, how they want to engage with police and how comfortable they feel approaching police and PSOs •

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