Cerberus Naval Police - The Modern ‘Village Copper’

Published on SBLT Kat Mulheron (author), ABIS James McDougall (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Cerberus

HMAS Cerberus Naval Police Coxswains and Victoria Police from Frankston in front of the Frankston Police Station, Victoria. (photo: ABIS James McDougall)
HMAS Cerberus Naval Police Coxswains and Victoria Police from Frankston in front of the Frankston Police Station, Victoria.

The Naval Police Coxswains at HMAS Cerberus have a big responsibility as they ensure the 2,000 plus Cerberus personnel are properly educated on their rights and responsibilities as Defence Force members and Victorian residents.
 
Despite a substantial workload the Coxswains have forged an alliance with Victoria Police, based at nearby Frankston, to implement a new Community-Focused Proactive Policing Strategy.
 
The program aims to improve crime prevention awareness and allows a more community based focus of Service Police operations. The new strategy has been welcomed and supported by Frankston Police as a positive initiative.
 
“I am very excited about the relationship being built between the Naval Police at HMAS Cerberus and ourselves. It’s vital we have a strong on-going relationship and what we have set out to achieve is long overdue,” said Senior Sergeant Brett Coloe, Officer in Charge of Frankston Police.
 
''The Navy's Community-Based Proactive Policing Strategy is very much in line with our community engagement initiatives, and I believe that both organisations will learn a great deal from one another.''

The strategy aligns engagement between the Naval Police and the Cerberus community with that of the Victoria Police for the civilian community. Working together and sharing insights has led to a new understanding between the two policing agencies.

Acting Sergeant Kirby Tonkin briefs HMAS Cerberus Naval Police Coxswains on local custody procedures at the Frankston Police Station in Victoria.

Acting Sergeant Kirby Tonkin briefs HMAS Cerberus Naval Police Coxswains on local custody procedures at the Frankston Police Station in Victoria.


Chief Petty Officer Naval Police Coxswain Darren Lonergan explained that the role of the coxswain had evolved over the years in line with Navy’s needs. Their motto of ‘stalwarts of Navy values’ highlights their role in ensuring good order and discipline.
 
“At the end of the day, coxswains are the ‘village coppers’ for Cerberus and this strategy will serve to engage more with the members and families of those posted to Cerberus,” Chief Petty Officer Lonergan said.
 
“When we actively engage with our community we can offer timely advice and guidance to prevent, rather than react, to possible breaches in discipline.”
 
It has been crucial that Naval and Victorian Police observe and learn from each other to adopt new methods that assist and support their respective communities. Recently, Cerberus Police conducted 'ride along' patrols with Victoria Police members of Frankston, which is a popular off duty destination for base personnel. They were also given a tour of the Frankston Police Station and a brief of the custody procedures followed.
 
They have also displayed stands at events such as the Cerberus Family Day, highlighted the Cerberus DRIVESAFE campaign and the Crime Prevention advice stand that seeks to reduce personal property related issues.
 
The Naval and Frankston-based Police alliance has cemented working relations between the two services, allowing better communication support for the Cerberus and wider civilian community.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143575.