Redfern Police are reviewing their operations in social housing estates, exploring options such as mobile police commands to counteract drug dealing and anti-social behaviour.
Redfern Police Commander, Superintendent Luke Freudenstein said a month-long review of high visibility policing options had commenced on September 1.
The review follows a six-month audit of general police operations, he said.
“Redfern Local Area Command (LAC) continually reviews our operations for the whole LAC,” said Supt Freudenstein.
“An operation has been running for six months in the Waterloo area and a six month review has been conducted.
“Another operation, with further attention to High Visibility Policing and Community Engagement [commenced] on September 1.”
The investigation follows safety audits by the Waterloo Wellbeing & Safety Action Group, and calls for action on anti-social behaviour.
Last month, equal rights activist Gary Burns wrote to senior police recommending a mobile police command in Redfern/Waterloo.
“There seems to be a lot of fear amongst residents due to criminal activity,” he wrote.
“I recommend a portable police command on the grounds of the housing estates to create a calming affect.”
Last year, mobile police commands were assigned to suburbs including Bankstown, Cabramatta and Blacktown.
The portable commands include data terminals, CCTV and interview rooms.
But local resident and City of Sydney Greens councillor, Irene Doutney said while there were some problems with anti-social behaviour, the perception was worse than reality, and mobile police commands were not necessarily needed.
“There are some issues but I think the perception is much greater,” she said.
“Some older tenants and people from some migrant groups are frightened of street drinkers and Aboriginal kids who often pose no threat.”
REDWatch spokesperson Geoff Turnbull said police were being called on to fix problems that were under the remit of Housing NSW and NSW Health.
“Police are being engaged in problems such as building security, which is a Housing NSW maintenance issue, and failings in the health system, which see people with high psychological needs placed alone in social housing,” he said.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP also opined that the issues went wider than crime and policing.
“This is not just about crime,” she said. “People who are unwell need help to get back on their feet and I’ve been pushing for health and rehabilitation programs, and help for tenants to get training and jobs.”
Supt Freudenstein said the results of the review would be tabled at the next Redfern Community Safety Precinct meeting on Thursday, September 30.