Inspector Andrew Falconer started as Whittlesea’s top cop just over two weeks ago, on the anniversary of his 24th year in the police force.
Where did you work before you came to Whittlesea?
I was at the operations review and support division. Before that I was an operations and uniform officer. I spent 21 years on the frontline and was mainly city-based, working in Melbourne, Yarra, St Kilda for a while, and before that, Dandenong.
What about working in Whittlesea appealed to you?
I actively sought this position – not for promotion – but for the opportunity to work in a busy, hardworking area. As a division it is a large division with population growth. I was a frontline police officer and now I have some very good process improvements that I am looking forward to bringing to the frontline. I am very keen to be back in the community.
Is the opening of the Mernda police station later this year your focus?
The Mernda police station is a big thing to have. It’s quite rare to get a new station with a new contingent of police. The vast majority of the 45 new police officers will be based there. When Mernda opens, the heavy lifting being done by some of our other stations will be better. The planning for Mernda is very intense. We are looking at a November opening.
What are the biggest challenges facing Whittlesea?
The challenge of family violence is very well known here. Burglaries and aggravated burglaries are a big focus. On August 16 we arrested three people using pursuit, the air wing and stop sticks who we allege are responsible for a number of aggravated burglaries. It was a targeted operation. The Crime Statistics Agency Data shows there has been a reduction in these offences from the previous 12 months.
Why did you join the police force?
I am a second generation police officer. I entered the academy on the 30th anniversary of my father’s graduation. The only other thing I thought of doing was teaching. I did a criminology degree when my dad said I was too young to join the police force and when I came out, it was still what I wanted to do.
How do you spend your spare time?
I like to cycle. These days it is mainly to and from work. My main focus is around family and I am a bit of a movie buff.