By PHILIPPA BURK*
THE Bridgewater Police Division, the largest geographic operational Division statewide for Tasmania Police, encompasses Bridgewater as well as the sub-divisions of Oatlands Police Station and New Norfolk Police Station. Oatlands also has single-person stations at Bothwell, Kempton and Liawenee. New Norfolk also has the single-person stations of Bushy Park, Maydena and Hamilton with police officers attached to each.
While Bridgewater Police is open from 9am until 4.30pm for public inquiries, the station is a 24-hour station. You can contact the station on 131 444 for non-urgent matters and 000 for urgent or life-threatening matters.
Brighton Council is not the only council within the Bridgewater Division with three other councils requiring engagement – Derwent Valley, Southern Midlands and Central Highlands.
This year’s fire season began early with fires at Glenfern, Lachlan, Todd’s Corner and Bothwell in October 2019. There were fires around New Year which significantly impacted the areas of Broadmarsh, Elderslie and Pelham. No lives were lost and there was minimal property loss. As is the usual case with this strong and resilient community everyone banded together including emergency services (Tasmania Fire Service (TFS), SES and Police), Council, community and other groups. An evacuation centre was opened overnight at the Brighton Civic Centre. Fortunately while still devastating for the community, the fires were not protracted thanks to the tremendous work of our TFS and volunteers.
Thankfully has been a significant crime reduction for the Bridgewater Division which is an absolute credit to the community and police officers. A rise in ‘offences against the person’ has been recorded, however, this is due to a higher incidence of family violence reporting. This summary for Brighton municipality shows an overall decline: 1289 offences (2017-18);– 1260 offences (2018-19); 848 offences (2019-20). Crime prevention is not the sole responsibility of police but it takes a combined effort through partnerships with key stakeholders and community support. The community needs to help us prevent crime by taking all steps relating to security around their homes, vehicles and businesses. The community also needs to report suspicious behaviour to police as soon as they see it happening.
Over the past few months, there has been an increase in anti-social behaviour and some public place assaults around Green Point Shopping Centre, the Brighton Civic Centre and the Bridgewater Library. There have been complaints of youths on bikes and scooters with them nearly running into elderly persons. Such behaviour is disappointing particularly for the Bridgewater Library which is a fantastic resource for the community. I would ask the community to work with us to help prevent this behaviour.
Lastly, I am introducing you to Constable Mardi Ditcham who works at Bridgewater Police Station.
This photo was in February this year when this dog was lost. It was posted on our Tasmania Police Facebook page and it highlighted two things: the power of social media and the immense joy pets can bring to people. The dog and owner were reunited and my police officers working at Bridgewater had a great lift because of their interaction with this sweet pooch. Mardi is vivacious, enthusiastic, community-minded and engages well with the Bridgewater/Brighton community as she goes about her duties. A significant role of police is community engagement to make our community a better place in which to live and work. Police are not just about arresting people. Mardi is also school community liaison officer which involves visiting schools, meeting principals and where possible at times attending school assemblies.
*Philippa Burk is Inspector-in-charge of Bridgewater Division