Constable Greg Broom chats with a young boy in the mall this week. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

MAKING the men and women in blue more approachable is the aim of the new Coffee with a Cop initiative launched on Tuesday, encouraging community members to raise their voices and their concerns.

Planned monthly for the next year, the program allows residents to drop in over a two-hour period and have a casual conversation with local police members – all over a complimentary coffee.

Eight local officers were present at this week’s event, held in Hargreaves Mall.

For Bendigo’s Local Area Commander, Inspector Shane Brundell, the program gives police the chance to increase their connection with citizens away from a crisis response scenario.

“This is an opportunity outside of (our) operating environment to come down and speak with the community and engage with people that may not have been victims of crime, that may not have ever interacted with the police before,” he said.

He said this allowed police to get information on issues occurring in local neighbourhoods, such as crime, road policing and drug use. – Sam Kane