A NEW multicultural and diversity unit has been set up at the Oakleigh police station to deal with ethnic issues in the community.

The long-term operation kicked off on Monday last week and will be run by senior constables Elizabeth Sidiropoulos and Gavan Bennett.

Snr Const Sidiropoulos said the unit aimed to promote “harmonious relations” between Victoria Police and people from different cultures.

“Our aim is to get out into the community to speak with different ethnic community groups, to introduce ourselves and establish lines of communication between them and us,” she said.

The unit will provide advice to multi-cultural groups on crime prevention, personal safety, the role of police in the community, family violence, drugs and road safety. Snr Const Sidiropoulos said the unit would also be a “bridge” between the community and other agencies.

“We will create an opportunity for different cultural groups and police to establish contact points with each other and to break down any existing barriers that may exist due to cultural and language difficulties,” she said. The multicultural and diversity unit can be contacted on 95678900.