COMMUNITY and neighbourhood policing and an emphasis on road safety are among the priorities for Foster’s new Victoria Police officer, Sergeant Ash Bell.
Visible patrols in and around Foster and its surrounding areas are also high on Sgt Bell’s list of duties because “I’ve always thought it’s important that people are seeing police out on the street,” he said.
“I’m very happy to have been appointed to Foster, and to join the team of police who are based here in the Corner Inlet district.”
While Sgt Bell grew up in suburban Melbourne, he is familiar with the Gippsland region because of his earlier postings and is already living locally in South Gippsland.
“I was sent to Wonthaggi as a trainee after graduating from the Victoria Police Academy at Glen Waverly in 2009, and later went on to the Latrobe Valley’s Criminal Investigation Unit,” he said.
“I became a Senior Detective in 2013 and worked as an analyst with the Victoria Police Intelligence Unit at Morwell and then with the Central Gippsland Sexual Offences and Child-abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT).”
Sgt Bell subsequently returned to Wonthaggi, as a member of the Bass Coast Family Violence Investigation Unit.
He also has an academic interest in police work, holding a Bachelor of Policing and Investigation degree from Charles Sturt University, which he completed after undertaking his Victoria Police detective training.
“When I first saw the Sergeant’s position at Foster advertised I applied for it, and I was very excited to get the job, “Sgt Bell said.
“I know a lot of the members who are serving in the South Gippsland area; for example, Toora’s Leading Senior Constable Jeff Stephens was one of my mentors when I first left the Academy,” he said.
“It’s been pretty full on during the past week or so, settling into the Sergeant’s office in the Foster Police Station and getting to understand what the local issues are with the help of my colleagues.
“My intention right from the onset is to stay here in Foster for quite some time and to work alongside my fellow officers, who are already quite committed to this area,” Sgt Bell said.
“The Corner Inlet community will soon notice a greater police presence out and about in the townships, on the roads, and at local events and activities,” he said.
“I’d like to assure everyone that I’ll do my best as their local sergeant and looking forward to becoming part of this community.”