Cabramatta, Australia (ABC News): The coffee may be average and come in styrofoam cups, but for about 100 people at Cabramatta Library — a mix of local police officers and new Australians — that is not the point.
For an hour every month, the coffee is just fuel for conversation — one designed to help build trust in the community.
“It’s a really easy way for the police and the public to come together and have a chat about things,” NSW Police Fairfield City Commander Superintendent Peter Lennon said.
“And it’s led to friendships being formed.
“Some of these people have actually started to work for the police as volunteers, so that’s been really good.”
Every month police in Fairfield host an open coffee day where anyone can come along, have a coffee or tea and chat with a police officer.
All are welcome and newly arrived migrants and refugees are especially enthusiastic, often showing up in the hundreds.
The “coffee with a cop” movement started in the United States in 2011 and the meet-ups have since spread to Australia and the UK.
Kim Tien Tran from Vietnam has only been in Australia for two months, but has already attended coffee with a cop.
She said she was surprised by how easy going the officers were.
“They were very friendly,” she said.
NSW Vietnamese Women’s Association president Anh Linh Pham said the program helped tackle long-held fears about the police within the Vietnamese community.
“Because the ladies said they [the police] are scary,” she said.
Ms Anh helped translate for the women, many of whom wanted to know how to report crimes to the police.
“My friend was a bit worried about some activity happening in her street that she thinks there might be drug dealing,” she said.
“She said ‘I dare not call the police’ but now she understands she can call the police without leaving her name.”