Oxford St patrols by November
The first community security patrols of Sydney’s recognised gay areas could be underway as early as next month.
Website GenerationQ’s plan to conduct street safety patrols, known as the Street Angels, will go ahead despite not having the support of Sydney City Council or NSW Police.
GenerationQ founder Andrew Stopps said a number of people had expressed interest in joining the patrol squad, which is being formed in response to the Sydney Star Observer campaign to reclaim gay-friendly areas of Sydney.
“We have had about a dozen people – gay and straight – who have volunteered so far,” Stopps told SSO.
“We are planning on meeting them all together next week. They will be coordinated by Chris Flaherty, who is a principal consultant in policing, and civil emergency planning.
“We are hoping the patrols can start first weekend in November.”
Stopps said he was frustrated by the lack of response from NSW Police and the City of Sydney.
A spokeswoman for NSW Police has previously said the organisation did not condone the establishment of vigilante groups.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has told SSO she would be concerned if the group attempted to do the job of police, or took the law into its own hands.
“Volunteers may be able to play a worthwhile role in helping to make our streets safer, but any volunteer program should be developed in conjunction with the police, the Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project and the City of Sydney’s Safe City team,” Moore has said.
Despite the lack of support, Stopps said he would push ahead with the Street Angels plan.
“We are planning on meeting with club owners in the next week to get a clearer picture of what’s happening and where the hot spots are,” he said.
“From there, we will develop a roster.”
Stopps said GenerationQ had also been in discussions with ACON, the Anti-Violence Project and Twenty10 with the view of involving them in the project.
To volunteer as a GenQ Street Angel visit www.generationq.net.
UNIFORM SPONSOR NEEDED
The GenQ Street Angels are looking for a sponsor to help pay for identifying uniforms. The uniforms could be either a T-shirt or vest, and will be brightly coloured to ensure high visibility. If you are interested in financially supporting the initiative register your interest through the website www.generationq.net.
Have your say: Do you think street patrols will work? Visit our forum at www.ssonet.com.au.