Part two of Rebecca Mugridge’s interview with genial Senior Sergeant Police Officer in Charge, Gary Brayley, from Nambour Police Station, where she learnt how much is involved in the day-to-day life of the local police.
by Rebecca Mugridge
Gary Brayley is a leader the community clearly bonds with. The smile he offers and the smiles he elicits from locals visiting the station is a testament to that – and Nambour Police are heavily involved in the community.
“We have police involved with Neighbourhood Watch and the Adopt-a-Cop program,” shares Gary. “We also interact with school classes that want to visit and some great people from the community who want to come by.”
They also have a school-based police officer at Nambour State College, creating positive connections between the youth and law enforcement.
“Greg is one of the school-based police officers and we are really lucky to have him at Nambour College. He does a really good job and the kids love him, they engage well with him and he has the rapport established now where he can positively affect and interact with the kids. He is also a talented musician and that makes him very popular!”
Gary says it was great to hear the news of the much-needed new police station for Nambour next year. “This was originally an extension to the original building and police have been occupying it for about 13 years now; its adequate but it’s far from the type of building we now need.
“They design police stations now with proper custody-holding facilities and property management systems (for all the exhibits and property seized that we hold until we find an owner) while also catering for detectives and the criminal investigation unit and all the equipment they need.
“Part of the plan for the new building is to have a ‘look alike room’ and that is a room that is set up with a homely feel about it rather than a clinical feel that a police station may have for a young child, to try and provide an opportunity for those victims to then be comfortable enough to tell police what happened.
“It’s all about trying to make them feel as comfortable as possible in a foreign environment. It is going to be fantastic to have a building that meets contemporary standards.”
Gary believes Nambour has a bit of a stigma about it that it doesn’t necessarily deserve, and it has a reputation for being a busy place to work policing wise.
“It does have a fairly high level of violence with disturbances, drug and alcohol and domestic violence and whilst it has got those statistics, the team that work here are really happy to be here.”
Ask most people around the town and you also hear the locals really want a police beat in the CBD and believe this will help boost public safety and therefore boost the local shopping economy.
Gary says he is aware that a central police beat has been an idea discussed by the community for several years.
“I understand completely why people want that in the CBD. We have our fair share of problems with public nuisance-related offences around parts of the CBD and a police presence would go a long way to helping prevent those issues.
“I am very mindful of the public when they say they are not feeling safe and how that might mean that people are not shopping and how we can partner with other services to make sure that the town is safer for people.”
Gary says initiatives like the town markets are fantastic for the community.
“I have had a few conversations with people on the beat patrol that the markets that now happen every Thursday in the town centre area have activated that space in such a positive way. With more people around, that displaces the criminal element people might be worried about and while the markets are on it has a better vibe about it and people feel safer.”
Gary says his amazing wife, who also works for Queensland Police in an admin role in Beerwah has always been his rock and greatest supporter. They were married in October 1988 when just three weeks later he was off to the police academy.
“She has been behind me for the past 30 years and followed me out to all those different isolated places. Not once has she ever complained of the places we have gone and some of these places like Bulya is a place three hours south of Mount Isa. A really dry and desolate place. Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.
“It’s great to be back in Nambour with a strong team. We have a gazetted strength of 31, I would say that at least 30% of those have been here longer than me. Some have been here 20 years. We also have a tremendous laugh here, there are some extremely funny people that work here. [In an intense job] You’ve got to be able to have a laugh.”
In a tough but crucial job in the community it is reassuring to know there is someone like Gary Brayley at the helm.