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Meeting and greeting ... Iain Wright and his son Dustin talk to Constable Steph Gemmill and Senior Constable Chris Hurring about life in the police. PHOTO: AMANDA BOWES

By AMANDA BOWES

A coffee cart provided free hot drinks to offset a frosty Hawarden morning last week as curious locals swung by to have a chat with the police.

The “Coffee with a Cop” initiative is part of a push to connect communities with the police and strengthen relationships with locals.

Sergeant Rob Irvine says police want to know what concerns a community may have and how they can work together to make it safer.

Police officers from North Canterbury and Canterbury were on hand to answer the public’s questions and learn any concerns.

As it was school holidays, the police entourage had a steady stream of interested local children, who talked with police officers and were warmed up with hot chocolate.

Many were keen on joining the police when older, so they got some first-hand advice on how to reach their goals.

Adults and children alike were fascinated by the mobile police base, which was on show. It had recently been used during a murder investigation.

The base is a state-of-the-art communication center and Senior Sergeant Vaughn Lapslie was kept busy explaining the intricacies of how all the technology was used at crime scenes.

Coffee with a Cop has been used in many countries and has been successful in lessening the divide between police and communities.

Hawarden is the second town in the Hurunui district to have a Coffee with a Cop visit. It was rolled out in Waiau recently and, despite pouring rain, still had a good turnout.