SOME of the state's highest ranking police officers have gathered in Bendigo for a community safety forum, led by Acting Chief Commissioner Rick Nugent.
Key community, civic, business and government representatives joined local police representatives this week to consider issues relevant to policing and the community in the Greater Bendigo Police service area.
Acting Chief Commissioner Nugent said the connection between local police and other support agencies, and how the various stakeholders work together to keep the Bendigo community safe, were on show throughout the three-hour gathering.
"There's a far greater understanding of the work Victoria Police is doing locally to keep them safe. They don't often get to hear of all the activities and strategies across a whole range of community safety areas."
He said police had worked right through the pandemic to try and prevent any "snap-back" into crime, and to look at enhancing existing partnerships and strategies as part of that strategy.
"Certainly during lockdowns and the restrictions during COVID - we still have COVID in the community, but the restrictions on movement, the restrictions on travel and so on - we did see reduced crime."
People working from home may have contributed to a reduction in burglaries and other opportunistic crime, he said.
"You also see less access to victims because people are not out and about."
"Society's changed and the way people used to offend has changed. You've got a lot more technology enabled crime that occurs now, that didn't occur before so we just need to continually look for a better practice model, look to continuously improve.
"I'm a big believer in evolution not revolution."
He said he was encouraged at how attendees at the forum had engaged and offered to assist one another in working with Victoria Police on initiatives to prevent crime and to delivery better and more streamlined services.
"Prevention before early intervention.... early intervention is better than late intervention," he said.
He called for the community to continue to engage with Victoria Police by collaborating with one another.
"It's always good to get information from the community around community safety issues and challenges," he said.
"People really care about their local community and when they see someone doing something wrong, when they hear of someone that's committed a crime they share that information and we then analyse that information and act on that, and when crimes have occurred we solve them for the victims."
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