People become police officers for a number of reasons including diversity in the workplace, excitement and the job security, but I believe the underlying reason is a desire to help people and make a difference.

I have been a police officer for twelve years, serving some of that period in New South Wales Police Force (or Service, as it was known then). I joined for all the reasons that I mentioned above. Being a big fan of ‘cop shows’ on television I was drawn to the fast pace and excitement of it all and the romance that the bad guy always gets caught.

And of course deep down I really wanted to help people. I’d seen friends go through some tough experiences and had gone through some myself and thought that I could use those experiences to help others get through their own tough times.

When I joined I found the job was exciting and every day was different. A lot of the time I was able to catch the bad guy. But over time I realised that it wasn’t exactly as it appeared on television. Crimes weren’t solved in an hour and the bad guy wasn’t always caught.

Sometimes this was due to lack of evidence but often it was because a victim or witness did not wish to speak to police. However, one of the most frustrating reasons for police not solving a crime is that the crime wasn’t even reported.

This may be because people don’t want to get involved or they don’t want to have to go through the often time consuming court process. Whilst these reasons might be valid, times have changed and there are now a number of ways to report crime to police or other agencies where you don’t have to identify yourself and you don’t have worry about ‘getting involved’.

For instance, Crime Stoppers is a great place to report crime and you don’t need to tell anyone who you are. You can call them at any time, report online or even from your smart phone. You can use your phone to take photos or videos (when safe to do so) and then upload them to Crime Stoppers and at no time do you need to speak to a police officer or identify yourself.

I am certainly not discouraging you from speaking to police – we are there always to listen and act. What I’m saying is that there are ways to report crime for those who don’t wish to call police.

Recently Frankston Police started their own blog at www.vicpolicenews.com.au. They recognised that there was a need to reach out to the community through a different medium. The blog allows people to see what their local police are doing as well as offering them the opportunity to make comments and suggestions about their needs.

This allows us, as police, to be made aware of the issues that you face and then respond to them. It gives the community a say in how the police in their area work. Other policing areas are looking at starting their own blogs, so stay tuned.

So the next time you see something that police need to know about, contact Crime Stoppers or make a comment on a Victoria Police blog. Of course, in an emergency always call 000. Every little piece of information may help solve a crime, or help us catch the bad guy.

By Sgt GABRIELLE TYACKE
Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer

INFO: Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, www.crimestoppers.com.au

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