On the blog: Getting our youth home safely

Detective Sergeant Rohan Smith

Detective Sergeant Rohan Smith has been a police officer for more than 27 years, and has spent the last five in ACT Policing providing the local community with a diverse range of domestic and international policing experience.

Prior to transferring to ACT Policing, Detective Sergeant Smith worked in AFP National Investigations, investigating drug importers and traffickers as well major frauds. Experience as a Close Protection Officer saw him deployed to Prime Minister John Howards Protection Team as well as the 2000 Sydney Olympics. As a Surveillance Officer during the ‘Underbelly’ years, Detective Sergeant Smith has seen policing from a range of perspectives. He has since brought his policing experience combined with his teaching experience surrounding inter-agency critical incident Command and Control to ACT Policing.

Highlights to his career have included deploying to Gallipoli in support of the Australian community during the 90th anniversary commemorations. Detective Sergeant Smith has also deployed internationally to East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia. For his services Detective Sergeant Smith has been awarded the National Police Service Medal with a 25 year clasp, the Police Overseas Service Medal, United Nations Medal and the Operational Policing Medal and clasp.

After 22 years as a police officer, I wanted to further my experience in community policing. My initial deployment to AFP National in Melbourne in 1991 saw me investigate fraud and drug investigations, consolidating my knowledge into operational skills.

In 2008 I was promoted to a position in Canberra, within reach, but outside of ACT Policing. In 2012 I transferred to ACT Policing providing Command and Control leadership before taking on a City Patrol in 2013.

In this role I oversaw the day to day work of General Duties members and noted the reliance the community had on police both in their duties and presence. I noted that developing the community’s resilience should be a key priority for the ACT.

In my current role I develop and deliver strategies that support a safe and vibrant nightlife in the ACT. While ACT Policing provides a service using hi-visibility policing in the night entertainment precincts, we also work hard behind the scenes to develop infrastructure, programs and partnerships to ensure the physical and social environment in these precincts supports the activity.

Programs such as the CBR Nightcrew are developed with the community by these partnerships, and I am encouraged by the response the volunteers receive in giving their time to support the night life. Working with other departments to develop late night transport strategies requires consideration of all aspect of the night life particularly as our main night club precinct surrounds the bus interchange. This is certainly a focus of my attention and mantra “to get youth home safely”.

Working with Licensees is integral to ensuring a safe nightlife and I engage with them individually and collectively on a regular basis with ideas, programs and legislative changes to ensure we all understand the direction that supports the ACT Governments Harm Minimisation Strategy.

I also spend a lot of time researching other jurisdictions and their programs drawing from their ideas and experience to implement in Canberra. I recently attended a conference where research from a number of Australian Universities has reinvigorated my thought processes, infusing academic modelling into operational policing outcomes. I am encouraged that modern policing in Australia acknowledges the value of external research in developing new perspectives to particular issues such as alcohol fuelled violence.

This year I intend to deliver a presentation to every single year 12 student across the ACT. Titled ‘City Safe’; it encourages our next generation of night time consumers to stay in control, understand the impact of illicit drug use, and understand how intoxication of any type can have a profound impact upon their future through the choices they make.

These programs contribute to community resilience and I would encourage the broader community to consider volunteering with the CBR Nightcrew program to ensure our youth get home safely. You can apply via email to CBR.Nightcrew@stjohnact.com.au.