ARARAT - Ararat Police officer in charge Senior Sergeant Damian Ferrari has challenged the Ararat community to be proactive about providing information to police which could be vital in solving crime.
Sen Sgt Ferrari said 2013 was a busy year for police, making significant progress in the reduction of crime, particularly family violence, drugs, assaults and road policing.
"This year will see us focus on many of these same crimes," he said.
"Throughout the year, I have many interesting conversations with members of the community and community groups. I think it is pretty easy to appreciate that on many occasions I can't outline specific details about investigations being undertaken for many reasons.
"The thing I find quite interesting is the fact that sometimes when an investigation result becomes public knowledge, members of the community come forward and provide information that they have had in their possession for a considerable time but haven't revealed that information to the police. On some occasions this information could have assisted the investigators greatly.
"We live in a relatively small rural town and I can't stress enough that it's all of our responsibility to work together to tackle issues such as drugs, family violence, road safety and a variety of other issues.
" That little bit of information you have, regardless of how small it may seem, just might be the piece of information needed to progress an investigation or even solve a crime."
Sen Sgt Ferrari said all information provided by the public is treated confidentially and people can also choose the option of contacting Crimestoppers.
"I ask all of you in the future, please don't hold back on this information, come forward in some way and provide that information to the police and help solve some of these crimes," he said.
"It may even mean that by providing this information you have saved a life and this is particularly relevant where investigations are related to drug activity.
"I understand that the information you possess may relate to friends, associates or even family and that the provision of this information may cause some issues. What I say to that is, what are the consequences of not providing the information and where will it all end if you don't provide this information?
"The information you provide may prevent another person from becoming a victim.
"From a policing perspective and aligned with community expectations, its not just about charging a person or solving the crime, a very important aspect of an investigation is to provide assistance and opportunities to persons to assist them with their issues. On a daily basis we make referrals to a number of agencies to gain assistance for people whether they are victims or perpetrators."
In addition to their work on reducing crime across the region, Ararat Police are also heavily focused at present on emergency management, particularly how it relates to wild fires and in light of the fires in the Grampians and Black Range.
"It is important to note that all fires now, regardless of size or origin, are fully investigated and with some new legislation now having been passed in parliament relating to recklessness then it is crucial that we all be extremely vigilant in relation to our activities and our fire prevention practices," Sen Sgt Ferrari said.
"It frightens me the amount of grass and its growth over the pre summer period, so the importance of a robust fire plan, fire prevention, preparedness and evacuation plans is more important than ever.
"The CFA has an informative up to date web site and it is very worthwhile to take the time to browse that site for information and advice."
To report crime go to Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000 and for information go to www.cfa.vic.gov.au or the Ararat Police Station on 5355 1500.