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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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2 September, 2021

Cops, coffee, and caution.

Longreach cops share a cuppa in the name of road safety.

By Michael R Williams

PC Tom Patten, Nick Backstrom, Andrew Watts, and Jenny Allpass from Two A' Float, enjoying a coffee with a cop. PHOTO: Michael R Williams

 LOCAL police officers took a moment this week to slow down and connect with motorists over a hot cuppa. 

Constable Tom Patten said Coffee with a Cop was a chance for locals and tourists alike to get familiar with their local police force this Road Safety Week.  

“We can talk all things policing,” he said.  

“[This year there is] a highlight on the younger drivers — the learners and the P-platers.  

“They’re at a significantly higher risk of road trauma and accidents due to their inexperience on the roads. 

“A lot of [what we’re] advertising is about education, and this [Coffee with a Cop] is just one way of highlighting what we’re trying to do.” 

PC Patten said Longreach and a lot of outback towns are in a dangerous location.  

“Fatigue is a major contributor to accidents out here,” he said.  

“We’ve got long arduous roads which stretch for hundreds of kilometres without having another town, without having somewhere to have a break in the middle. 

“It’s just about bringing to the forefront of people’s minds and making sure you get those breaks in where you can.” 

PC Patten said it may only be an hour from here to Barcaldine, but drivers struggle to remain focused.  

Coffee with a Cop is not a common occurrence in Longreach, but PC Patten said it was something he was hoping to introduce more regularly.  

“It’s great to be able to get the community to engage with us,” he said.  

“[We’d] like people to work with us to achieve our community goals, which is to keep everyone safe. 

“It’s to make sure crime is at an all-time low – which it already is – you know there’s more we can do to highlight those key points.” 

PC Patten wished to remind residents of the Fatal 5: speeding, drunk driving, distractions - in particular mobile phones and passengers, seat belt misuse, and fatigue.  

“These mistakes are found in the majority of fatalities on Queensland roads,” he said. 

“This year has seen the highest fatalities in Queensland in the last five years. 

“We just want to reiterate to everyone, when you’re driving make sure you’re focused, you have the energy to do it and don’t have any alcohol or drugs in your system and you’re not distracted.” 

There have been 331 deaths on Queensland roads in the year ending in April 2021 — an increase of 106 over the previous year.  

If you are in an emergency, please call 000.  

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