The Byron Police Station has welcomed its new inspector, Matt Kehoe, who joined the Tweed Byron Police District six weeks ago.
While Matt has lived in the Byron Shire since 2005, when he and his family moved here from Sydney, he previously worked with the Lismore Police LAC before spending the last three years in Murwillumbah as the general manager for Industry Regulations at the Firearms Registry.
Living in the Shire, Detective Inspector Kehoe said he is able to bring a local perspective to the force and is looking to be more involved in the local community and the concerns and issues it is facing.
‘Some of the key issues facing the Shire are mental health, both for the broader community and the police; homelessness, and road trauma,’ said Detective Inspector Kehoe.
Mental health on frontline
‘Police are called upon daily to manage mental health situations and this often leaves the police on the frontline dealing with the outcomes.’
Inspector Kehoe is actively pursuing training for the local police in relation to mental health. He is aiming to collaborate with local providers of mental health intervention training to support police in coping both with their jobs as well as dealing with mental health issues in the broader community.
Highlighting that it is currently Homelessness Week, he points out that ‘This is something we see and deal with every day across the Shire’.
‘Often people who are homeless have complex needs and can also have mental health issues that compound these.’
During Homelessness Week, there are a number of ways that people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness can access services, including through the Mullumbimby and District Neighbourhood Centre and the Byron Community Centre.
Responding to questions about the level of drug-fuelled violence in the community, Detective Inspector Kehoe was clear that if violence or intimidation is taking place that members of the community are encouraged to report it to the police and can do so anonymously.
‘It is important to come forward and you can do that anonymously. But if we don’t know about it then we can’t act on it,’ he said.
If you need to contact the local police you can call Brunswick Heads on 6685 1277, Mullumbimby on 6684 2144 or Byron Bay on 6685 9499. In an emergency call 000.