It’s still early days for the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) security team, however initial reports suggest the initiative is making a difference in Dubbo’s central business district.
Since starting operations in early December, the AES team has foiled two bag snatches and prevented numerous shoplifting incidents.
In the case of the bag snatchings, the offenders were run down, apprehended and handed over to the police.
AES manager Peter Gibbs has been heartened by the response to the security team from CBD business owners and the general public.
“All the feedback I’m getting from the business community and the public has been very positive,” he said yesterday.
“We’ve picked the right people for the job, which is very important.
“Our officers have the physical capacity the job demands, the personality to engage people in conversation and the wisdom to defuse rather than inflame situations.”
Sanity music store manager Naomi Hartley was full of praise for the AES security team.
“It’s made a huge difference to our business,” she said.
“We were having a lot of problems with shoplifting and unruly behaviour in the store.
“But there has been a marked decrease in the number of incidents since the AES guys started their patrols.
“We see them out the front of the store talking to the young people, I think their presence has made a huge difference.”
Dubbo City Centre manager Chris Muir agreed, saying the AES team was proving itself to be a valuable asset to the business and shopping community.
“They are doing a fantastic job,” he said.
“They’ve reduced the number of unsavoury types loitering about the main street and have dramatically reduced the amount of unruly behaviour in the centre.
“From the feedback I’ve received from store owners and shoppers it would appear the AES officers are well-respected and much liked by people in the CBD.”
Mr Muir said the AES foot patrols in combination with council’s CBD security cameras had resulted in a reduction of antisocial behaviour during the busy festive and holiday season.
“It’s definitely been much quieter,” he said.
The AES security team patrols the Dubbo CBD seven days a week.
The service has been funded for two years by the NSW Government and contributions from CBD retailers.
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