Street Angels closer to strip
Surry Hills police have given their support to the proposed Street Angels patrols of Oxford St.
Street Angels developer Andrew Stopps, from gay and lesbian website GenerationQ, met with Detective Inspector David Egan-Lee and other high-ranking police officers last week to talk about how the program would operate.
“The outcome of the meeting was a mutual understanding of what is and isn’t being done on Oxford St,” Stopps said.
“We will be the intermediary point between an attack or potential attack and the police arriving, providing support for the victim.
“We will also have a direct line to Surry Hills Police to get updates on when officers will be arriving.”
Stopps said the police had asked that the Street Angels be based out of the new Oxford St safe space, scheduled to open on 23 November.
The Anti-Violence Project is still looking for volunteers to help staff the space on Friday and Saturday nights, and for community groups to make use of the area at other times.
“The police have recommended we are based at the new Oxford St safety shop and also have patrols walking the street if necessary, but not engaging people who are displaying violent behaviour,” Stopps said.
“We are there to offer support for the victim, not to wrestle attackers. Street Angels will have two-way radios and be in contact with clubs, each other and the police.”
Detective Inspector Egan-Lee said the Street Angel talks were productive and informative.
“By having this discussion, I believe that both sides now have a better understanding of what can be done and the benefits of working together,” he said.
“The main theme to come out of the meeting is that we want Oxford St to be a safe and enjoyable environment for all members of the community.”
Stopps said the focus now was getting a sponsor to help fund the cost of equipment and clothing for the street volunteers in time for the first planned patrol at the end of November.
“We expect to start patrols within two weeks with Dykes on Bikes, off duty police officers and ex-army officers all pledging their support,” Stopps said.
“Once we have the Street Angels operational, we will be starting the second phase of our program, Diverse City, which will include a schools program and other initiatives to help celebrate and educate about diversity and acceptance in the community.”
To volunteer as a GenQ Street Angel, visit www.generationq.net.
To volunteer to staff the safe space, donate furniture or suggest an idea for the space, contact Carl Harris on 9206 2066 or [email protected].
Poll: Do you support the Street Angel concept? Vote at www.ssonet.com.au.