Building safe connections

Leading Senior Constable Erik Woods (Zoe Moffatt/ Star Weekly). 384913_13

Zoe Moffatt

Macedon Police Station has a new officer in charge and he is coming into the role with an open door policy, focused on community and connection.

Before taking over this role, Leading Senior Constable Erik Woods worked in Gisborne for six years, and has experience throughout the west, including Brimbank, Melton and Ballarat.

“The main goal for me is going to be building that relationship with the community,” he said.

“Obviously being one person, I’m not going to be able to do it all and see it all and be everywhere at once.

“But I think if we can get that relationship with the community to a good level, then hopefully they feel comfortable to report things to me.”

To build this connection, Leading Senior Constable Woods will open up the station every Monday from 8am to 4pm for residents to drop by for a chat and a cuppa.

“The idea behind that is, it’s after the weekend, if something happened they can come and report it to me or if they want to say G’day and touch base.”

With a rock propping the door open and the police car parked out the front, Leading Senior Constable Woods said these are the tell tale signs to residents that they can find him in the station.

When discussing the 11.7 per cent increase in criminal offences recorded in Macedon Ranges in the 12 months to September 2023, he pointed to increasing population throughout the shire.

“There’s more people moving into the area, you have that urban sprawl, and I think with that comes some more activity.”

There were 264 offences recorded for breach of family violence order in the 12 months to September and Senior Constable Woods said this will be an area of focus, along with the road toll and crime.

“Family violence is always something that we’re doing a lot of, and… hopefully that goes back to the relationship I’ll build with the community, where they’re feeling comfortable enough to report it to me, because a lot of this sort of stuff goes unreported.”

Leading Senior Constable Woods said the single member station gives him flexibility to prioritise his focus.

“If people come and report things to me, and if something is happening at certain times, I’ve got the flexibility to adjust my roster so that I can focus on something or respond to something personally.

“That’s something I’m looking forward to- being able to have people in here, have them report things to me but then address it and then tell them about how I have addressed it.

“Getting that confidence that I am going to respond to what they’re reporting, then that builds trust.”

Outside of his police duties, Leading Senior Constable Woods said he looks forward to getting involved in community sport and integrating himself and his family into the Macedon community.