Indian community association, Council of Indian Australians (CIA), organised a meeting at Toongabbie Community Centre with senior officers of NSW Police on 8 May. The meeting discussed local security and other concerns of the community.
Police officers from Parramatta, including Superintendent Wayne Cox, Commander of Parramatta LAC, Insp Stephen Yapp – Crime Manager, Inspector Robert Toynton – Duty Officer, S/Cst Tony Loxley – Crime Prevention Officer and Detective Bikram Singh attended the meeting. The meeting was also attended by Siu Lan, Clorinda Lee, Multicultural Community Liaison Officer, local politicians of Western Sydney, representatives from the Indian Media and community members from Toongabbie and the wider western Sydney region.
Subba Rao Varigonda, CIA president, welcomed the guests. Mohit Kumar, executive member of CIA, mediated the Q&A session.
Supt Wayne Cox stated that the police felt privileged to listen to the community’s security and related concerns. He assured to look into the specific concerns raised at the meeting and build a strong relationship between the police and the local community. The other police officers present at the meeting also introduced themselves and explained their role and responsibilities in policing, crime investigation and customer service in the Parramatta command.
In the Q&A session issues arising from the day-to-day life of the community were raised with the panel of officers. Among the community’s concerns were: incidents of break and enter, identity fraud, stolen mail, assaults, consumption of alcohol in public places etc.
Rising levels of crime in Toongabbie has been a matter of concern to the residents for some time now. Attendees pointed out that law enforcers had to be more sensitive and responsive to these concerns in order to win the confidence of the community. Some victims of crime narrated their experiences and expressed their disappointment with the police response. The common theme that came out of the meeting was the need for the police to be more pro-active with following-up on community complaints and requests for help.
The Police panel listened to each of the issues carefully, made a note of them and answered them appropriately. The police apologised to community members who were directly affected. The police assured the community that efforts will be stepped up to improve the situation.
The police also took the opportunity to educate community members on police systems and procedures and the best ways to contact the police.
The police also encouraged all present to report and inform the police about any major or minor crimes/issues as every incident goes into their database, which is then analysed for emerging trends so the right resources and tactics are deployed.
Police advised the local community to support and work with Police as reporting crime is everyone’s responsibility and not only the Police. Police shared various educational booklets and refrigerator magnets about Home Safety, Students Guide to Parramatta and vital role played by Multicultural Community Liaison Officers in lieu with community to step up the efforts on crime prevention.
Dr Balu Vijay, CIA secretary, thanked the NSW police team for meeting with the community; Maya Da Dhaba for the catering, and Mr Ranjit for providing free audio.
The CIA plans to organise a follow-up meeting to monitor the progress on this issue.
Published in Indian diaspora magazine, Sydney