The Andrews Labor Government is working with Victoria Police to create a specialised farm crime unit that will work across Victoria targeting farm crime, including livestock and equipment theft.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville today joined Victoria Police and the Victorian Farmers Federation to announce the creation of the Farm Crime Coordination Unit.
The unit will be led by Inspector Karl Curran, who will oversee a team of more than 70 new Farm Crime Liaison Officers, previously known as Agricultural Liaison Officers (AGLOs) and additional administrative and coordination support.
The team will strengthen the work already undertaken by AGLOs by providing a dedicated response to target farm crime by monitoring crime trends and patterns, developing intelligence and working with local police to proactively and reactively address issues.
The unit will also work closely with and provide advice to Victoria’s farming and agricultural community, and provide intelligence and operational advice to Victoria Police command.
The creation of the new specialist farm crime unit follows a comprehensive Capability Impact Assessment undertaken by the Victoria Police Capability Department on the AGLO model and response to farm crime.
The enhanced and dedicated leadership and resourcing will also increase Victoria Police’s ability to respond to the changing nature of crime in rural communities, including the increased use of technology and network offending.
While farm crime contributes less than one percent of all offending in Victoria, we know it has a huge impact on our rural and regional communities – particularly the theft of tools, livestock and firearms.
The latest crime statistics show that in the year to 30 March 2019, almost 3600 farm-related thefts were recorded with power tools, tools, livestock, and electrical appliances among the top items stolen.
The Labor Government’s record $3 billion investment in Victoria Police is delivering 3135 new police by 2022, including more resources to the Geelong, Ballarat, Morwell and Bairnsdale regional centres.
More than 1900 new police have already been deployed or allocated to communities across Victoria, with more to come.
The Government has provided $900,000 for the Victorian Farmers’ Federation to work with the farming sector to respond effectively and quickly to animal welfare and biosecurity issues and develop a campaign to maintain the community’s confidence in this vital industry.
As stated by Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville
“We take this type of offending very seriously – the theft of equipment or livestock can have a huge operational impact on our farmers, on top of the financial burden.”
“We’ve listened to the increased concerns in rural communities and we’ve acted. The new Farm Crime Coordination Unit will help centralise Victoria Police’s response to farm crime, while also ensuring the continued presence of Farm Crime Liaison Officers across the state.”
“The unit will work directly with Victoria’s farming and agricultural communities and monitor crime trends and patterns to better respond to farm crime.”
As noted by Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes
“Farm crime is costly and damages farmers and rural communities, I welcome the dedicated unit to further respond to and prevent these crimes to help maintain the prosperity of our vital agricultural sector.”