NEWLY appointed Victoria Police officers will continue their training in a Wheelers Hill shopping centre to improve their people skills and to give them on-the-job experience.
In a first for the police, every probationary constable who graduates from the nearby Glen Waverley police academy will go on foot patrols in and around Centro Brandon Park shopping centre to test the skills they learnt in the classroom.
"It's really important that the training is as near to real as we can make it," Inspector Graham Sprague of Monash police said.
"By being out in the community, constables get a full understanding of what's involved and get the important interaction with the community at the same time."
In addition to patrolling the shopping centre, the officers will take part in role plays involving assaults, thefts and missing people. But one of the most important things they'll be tested on will be working with the public.
"This is an area that's probably been lacking in the past," Inspector Sprague said.
"It's nerve wracking and it does take a while to get used to the job and I think these scenario-based exercises will certainly help break down those barriers. It's about getting that grounding in training that's going to just enhance their skills before they're put in the situation where they need them."
Glen Waverley police academy's Senior Sergeant Jill Dyson said every probationary constable would be required to attend the training. "Not only will they be working on their skills in proactive and reactive policing, crime prevention and improving the way they interact with community members, but their presence at the shopping centre will help make our community safer."
Inspector Sprague agreed: " We're going to have a big show of police in that area and we would hope that gives a lot of reassurance to the community that police are out in force."