The Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA) were announced on Monday, November 25 and have resulted in four Queensland Police Service projects being recognised for their efforts in keeping community members safe.
The annual ACVPA focus on recognising best practice in preventing or reducing violence and other types of crime in Australia.
The awards ultimately highlight the effectiveness of community-based initiatives to prevent crime and violence.
The four QPS projects have been implemented in cities across the state and have been recognised with the below awards in the police-led category:
Mackay’s ‘Assault Free Zone’
- Bronze award
The Assault Free Zone project was designed to send a clear and definitive message that assaults will not be tolerated by anyone in the community.
Sergeant Nigel Dalton of Mackay District said it was important to send a clear message of zero tolerance when assaults were considered.
“Our main focus is to keep everyone in the community safe and prevent needless harm that arises when assaults take place,” Sergeant Dalton said.
The project, unlike other slogan-based campaigns before it, does not focus on the potential offender and their likely behaviour, but instead is worded to give the community a sense of empowerment and responsibility when it comes to standing up for what they want.
The slogan of ‘Assault Free Zone’ engenders the community’s stern approach to not tolerating the kind of behaviour that can result in violence.
Acting Sergeant Steve Smith accepting the award on his team’s behalf
Brisbane’s ‘Project Community Against Substance Abuse (CASM)’
- Bronze award
Project CASM seeks to divert and protect young people from volatile substance abuse.
The goals of this particular project focus on not only diverting people from engaging in this detrimental behaviour, but to also reduce the prevalence of associated offences.
Detective Sergeant Peter Lunney said this project involved a joint effort from many contributors.
“This award showcases the success of this multi-agency response focussing on early intervention by those including government agencies and non-government support groups working together with police,” Detective Sergeant Lunney said.
Ultimately, the work of those involved with the project has resulted in a reduction of the number of VSM- related incidents in Brisbane by engaging with and educating retailers, reaching out with at-risk youth and upskilling police and their capabilities.
Project CASM was recognised with a Bronze award
Sunshine Coast’s ‘Intensive referral of domestic violence respondents’ program
- Bronze award
This project is focusing on the need to pay more attention to a kind of violence within the community that is often only temporarily addressed when investigated.
The program targets domestic and family violence offenders following the initial incident and involves officers from the Sunshine Coast Vulnerable Persons Unit.
Senior Sergeant Kim Cavell said the program allowed for officers to discuss support service options in a police-led referral strategy.
“Through our intervention strategy, we are able to facilitate behavioural change with the help of our external partners to ultimately reduce the number of those who re-offend,” Senior Sergeant Cavell said.
The project is recognising the vital fact that behavioural norms of perpetrators of domestic and family violence are integral to ensuring violence in the community is reduced.
Senior Sergeant Kim Cavell accepting the project’s Bronze award
Surfers Paradise’s ‘First Drinks: First Impressions’
- Gold award
First Drinks: First Impressions. Harm reduction through police engagement was recognised with a gold award for halving assault rates in the Surfers Paradise entertainment precinct.
This proactive project has involved officers on the Gold Coast engaging with patrons in the popular entertainment precinct at the start of the night and offering them a breathalyser test.
The effects have led to a reduction in assault rates by more than 58 per cent when compared to when no engagement is made.
Operation Leader of the Entertainment Precinct Group, Senior Sergeant Troy Lehmann said this proactive engagement with those attending licensed establishments early on in their evenings was having a resonating effect.
“We’ve found after implementing these methods that people are a lot more likely to interact with police before real trouble began when they’d already had a positive interaction with them early on in the night,” Senior Sergeant Lehmann said.
This project and the award are showing those involved with the project that their work to establish police legitimacy and to be seen as genuine while working to keep people safe is paying off.
All projects were assessed by the ACVPA Board, which consists of senior law enforcement representatives from each state and territory police service and is chaired by the AIC Director.
Congratulations to all involved in each of the projects for your outstanding efforts in preventing crime and violence.
For more information about the awards, click here.
Representatives from the QPS projects after accepting their awards at Parliament House