Police aim to break down barriers with new residents
LOCAL police have this week been proactive in their bid to ensure Coffs Harbour’s newest locals feel safe in their new home.
In the first half of this year almost 100 people, including 20 children, have moved to Coffs Harbour from countries including Iraq, Myanmar, Malaysia and the Democratic Republic of Congo under the Federal Government’s Humanitarian Settlement Program.
A number of the new residents are Yazidi families, who have fled horrific persecution at their home countries.
Coffs Clarence Superintendent Steve Clarke has said that because of their hardships, many of the new residents fear local police officers.
With interpreters on hand an open day was held at Coffs Police Station yesterday with the aim of building trust.
Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the event was important to bridge the cultural gap.
“Settling into a different country and adjusting to a new life can present huge challenges, which is why it is important the government invests in initiatives that make them feel safe and supported,” Mr Speakman said.
“The open day aims to break down any barriers, so they know who to turn to if they need help.”
The open day saw attendees learn about the NSW Police Force and Coffs Harbour Courthouse, and how to navigate a number of local services.
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh spoke at the event.
“Coffs Harbour is a major regional hub for migrant and refugee settlement and we welcome people from diverse backgrounds,” Mr Singh said.
“We want to build trust and assure people this is a safe, vibrant and diverse community and we are here to help them settle into their new home.”
The event was held in partnership with the Diversity Services Unit of the Department of Communities and Justice, Settlement Services International and St Vincent de Paul’s North Coast Settlement Service.