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On patrol with the city's new downtown beat

Turning the corner onto a dusty downtown car park, they find what theyare looking for. Behind the cars, hidden from view, up against a fence,five people sit basking in the sun. But this is no patio, and thedrinks in hand aren't allowed.

Turning the corner onto a dusty downtown car park, they find what they are looking for. Behind the cars, hidden from view, up against a fence, five people sit basking in the sun. But this is no patio, and the drinks in hand aren't allowed.

"When was the last time you got a ticket?" Const. Dan Atchison questions one of the four men now looking more than a little sheepish.

"Couple of weeks ago."

"For drinking in public?"

"Yep."

This is the type of crime Atchison and his colleagues on the new downtown beat are looking to crack down on -- anti-social behaviour.

Atchison cocks his head to read the five names collected into his walkie talkie. After a short wait confirmation arrives, three of the men are wanted on outstanding warrants and the arrests are made.

Only moments earlier Atchison was commenting on the upside to being on foot patrol.

"One of the main things is they are not expecting us to be out of our patrol cars, so we could be just turning the corner and come across something on sight."

Atchinson is one of 62 officers now walking the streets of the downtown core, part of a new policing strategy to make the area feel safer for those who work and live in the crime hot spot.

"If you are not doing anything wrong we won't be bothering you."

A good day's work and a long walk back to arrest processing.

 
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