Join a cop for coffee
Coffee with a cop is coming to Stratford next month, with plans for it to become a regular event.
Senior constable Jono Erwood says he and his colleague, acting sergeant Simon Howard, hope the community will take the opportunity to join them for a chat and a cuppa.
“The coffee with a cop initiative has been really popular in America and other countries, and it’s something we think will work here as well.”
Simon says the idea is to give people the opportunity to have a chat with a local police officer in an informal setting.
“People might have a question about policing, or want to talk about an issue which is concerning them, but they aren’t comfy coming into the police station and asking us. Coffee with a cop will give them the chance to have that conversation in a more relaxed environment.”
Jono says the talks will be agenda-less.
“We aren’t coming in with preconceived ideas of what people will want to talk about. We are going to be listening, trying to answer any questions and helping people with any specific concerns by explaining what they can do about them.”
Simon says while they will direct people to the police station to report a specific crime, he and Jono hope they will be able to help people with more general enquiries as well as getting information on what people are concerned about.
“It might be that we hear from lots of people about similar concerns, maybe a worry about speeding cars or areas where they feel unsafe when walking. This will help us target our police work and identify areas of concern in the community which we can try to address.”
It’s important for people to be able to trust their local police officers and have good relationships with them, Jono says.
“Meeting up for a coffee is a great way to build relationships with people, and we hope people will see real benefit from this project.”
As the chats are informal, they won’t be recording names or taking notes, but rather will try to summarise the concerns they hear about and deal with them in a general way.
“We then plan to give the community feedback through the Stratford Press, with a column once a month answering some of the questions we have been asked.”
Each coffee with a cop session will be advertised in the Stratford Press in advance and people who can’t attend are also welcome to email the editor with any general questions or concerns they addressed.
Jono and Simon are asking local businesses to get involved by sponsoring the cost of some coffees for each session.
“We’d love to hear from any cafes who would like to host us for this, as well as other businesses who would like to get involved, “says Simon. “Everyone in the community will benefit from this in some way, as an increased connection between police and the community we serve is guaranteed to have a positive impact on us all.”
Simon Howard and Jono Erwood are inviting people to enjoy “coffee with a cop”.