On the blog: What would they think?

Station Sergeant Adrian Craft

Station Sergeant Adrian Craft joined the Australian Federal Police in 1990. Over his 29 year career he has worked in various roles in ACT Policing, International Operations, including time spent in Cyprus and Timor, Learning and Development and Protection at the Airport.

Station Sergeant Craft has extensive experience in high-risk tactical operations as a member of the Special Operations Team and Police Negotiators. This experience has seen him be involved in operations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Over the course of his career Station Sergeant Craft has received the National Medal, National Police Service Medal, UN medal for Cyprus, Police Overseas Service Medal, ACT Policing Medal and several Commissioners and Chief Police Officer commendations.

Station Sergeant Craft is currently the Officer in Charge of City Police Station where he oversees a number of General Duties teams as well the Territory Targeting Team, a dedicated team focused on alcohol and drug safety particularly in relation to the entertainment precincts across Canberra.

ACT Policing has launched a new campaign ‘what would they think?’ and we asked Station Sergeant Craft what he thinks about dealing with alcohol related issues and being in charge of patrolling Canberra’s largest entertainment precinct, the CBD.

 

For most of us, being a Police officer isn’t just a job to us. It’s not just a way of life but it’s also a way we can play a part in helping the communities that we and our families live in. For me it’s a continuation of what my family’s done in policing in Canberra since 1962. We grew up in Canberra and I’ve chosen to remain here to not only work but raise my own family. Canberra is well known as being one of the most well-educated, diverse, liveable and safest places in Australia. This doesn’t mean that we, as Police, just rest on our laurels. We continue to work hard to make Canberra even better for all of us.

An issue that’s a concern for any police officer or parent in the ACT is alcohol fuelled violence. The ACT Government shares those concerns and has provided ACT Policing with a specific Ministerial Direction around it. Even without that direction and the concerns we all share, some very recent and tragic events both here in the ACT and around Australia show that, while we all should rightly enjoy all our entertainment precincts offer, there are consequences when that enjoyment takes an undesired turn in the wrong direction.

As the Officer in Charge of City Station I have responsibility for the patrolling of Canberra’s largest entertainment precinct, the Canberra CBD. The CBD houses our largest concentration of licensed premises and, as it has been for many years, continues to be the focus of most of Canberra’s weekend social activities. In line with the Ministerial Direction, ACT Policing established the Territory Targeting Team (TTT), whose focus is on patrolling our entertainment districts and licensed venues. They’re the people you’ll see walking the CBD streets of a weekend’s evening. These people are as passionate as I am about firstly ensuring that people have the freedom to enjoy a good night after a busy week, but also step in and take action when things don’t go the right way. The TTT work hand in hand with licensees and other agencies such as the CBD Night Crew, Sobering Up Shelter and ACT Liquor Licensing to maintain a well-rounded approach to alcohol fuelled violence. It’s a multi-layered issue and one that we can’t solve on our own.

Why is it a big deal for me? I grew up in Canberra, and our entertainment precincts were like a moth to a flame for me in younger days, as it was for all of my friends. Socialising and drinking in the CBD was a coming of age for most young Canberrans, and we can all share memories of nights that were fun. The overarching feeling was that our entertainment precincts were fun places to be. Its where we met after busy week of work or uni. At the same time we can all share memories of evenings where things didn’t go right. Nights where we either saw or were involved in situations where the excessive use of alcohol led to consequences where people were abused, threatened and sometimes hurt. As a young police officer I spent many years walking the beat in the CBD of a weekend and again, while most memories of those years were of the positive encounters and experiences at work, the lasting memories were ones of treating victims of assault, separating fighting parties, or putting people so affected by alcohol, and abandoned by friends, into places where they could be looked after. There is no sound in the world like a head hitting concrete, and sadly I seen and heard it far more often than I should’ve.

I want our entertainment precincts to be safe places for my kids. For your kids and for you and your friends too. To keep these places safe sometimes an action as simple as a thought about consequences can change the course of an evening and, for some people, their entire life. Is what happened something I should really be that worried about? Is just walking away the best option this time? Is my friend OK over there? How are we getting home? Do I actually know what’s in that drink/pill/powder? Over the course of a weekend’s evening Police won’t have anything to do with the thousands of people that think about the consequences and do the right thing. Sadly the people we do end up encountering are the ones that had a choice but made the wrong one. Sometimes walking away or avoiding a situation just doesn’t feel right inside at the time. I can guarantee you that the next morning you’ll thank yourself for doing it.

Be one of those thousands that make the right decisions every week. Encourage your kids and your friends to make those right decisions. Alcohol can affect our decision-making with sometimes tragic consequences, and bad decisions made in a split second can change lives. At the end of the day go out to our entertainment precincts, have a drink if you like, and most of all enjoy yourselves. Be entertained by what our great city has to offer, but look after yourself and those with you while you do.