Community policing is about investing time in developing relationships. That is the foundation for positive influence and problem-solving. So says the new Browns Bay community constable Simon Fox.
A former tradie with a science degree, Simon moved to Auckland from England’s south coast in 2004. During his seven years as a police officer, he has worked extensively in offender-based roles, investigating crimes and responding to emergencies. “I see community policing as a great opportunity to engage with people from different groups within the community, to learn from their insights, and work together to resolve key issues for positive, long-term outcomes,” says Simon, who began his new posting in April.
Currently, a significant focus for Simon concerns alleged bullying, for example, at the beachfront skate park. He is chatting with parents and residents to help them understand the process for reporting incidents. “Sometimes the first that police hear about an incident is when we read a social media post,” he explains. “It’s important to make the police aware of these incidents directly. I can assure you that a witness’ identity is protected to shield them from any potential reprisals.”
Simon regards youth engagement as crucial too, and, as he walks his beat, takes the time to speak with young people gathered in the town centre. He is also regularly visiting retailers and other business owners to share practical crime prevention advice.
After hours, Simon clears his head with yoga and visiting the gym. He likes to watch movies – his favourite is The Matrix. He is also something of an artist, creating string art. And, of course, time spent with his wife, three children, and various non-human family members (including their cats, dog, miniature ponies, and goat) is precious.
What does “community policing” mean to you? What’s being done well, and where is there room for improvements? Simon would like to hear your views.