The NSW Police Force is teaming up with local communities to reinforce their commitment to stamping out rural and regional crime and protecting the livelihoods of farming communities, as part of Rural Crime Week, NSW Police say.
Regional NSW Field Operations Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys will be joined by Minister for Police Troy Grant in Wagga Wagga today (Monday 17 September 2018) to launch the start of Rural Crime Week and highlight crime prevention strategies for farmers and local community members to help combat criminal activity.
Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said underreporting of rural crime has been an ongoing issue for farmers and police, but rural crime prevention has taken a new direction.
“With the establishment of Rural Crime Prevention Teams, police are now working more closely with farmers and rural communities in a coordinated approach that will create a shared understanding of the issues we face. We are in this together and everyone has to have the confidence to report and call out criminal behaviour in their local areas,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
“Rural crime is more than just stock and property theft, it comes in many other forms and our investigators will continue to proactively target crimes including illegal hunting, trespassing, firearm theft and illegal firearms as well as threats to bio security.
“By engaging farmers and locals, we can build resilience in the community and work to have a greater understanding, which will allow us to successfully hunt down, arrest and prosecute those affecting the livelihoods of our farming communities through illegal activities,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
In 2017, the NSW Police Force rolled out Rural Crime Prevention Teams across the state to target, prevent and disrupt criminal activity affecting rural communities.
Minister for Police Troy Grant said the government will continue to work with police to help reduce the impact rural crime has on farmers, families and the industry.
“Between June 2017 and July 2018, almost $3 million dollars’ worth of cattle and sheep was stolen from our farmers,” Mr Grant said.
“These criminal acts threaten the livelihood of our farmers and rural communities, which then becomes a threat to the community’s survival, that’s something we simply won’t tolerate,” Mr Grant said.
In line with eight recommendations provided by the Bradshaw Report – which was conducted to ensure police were appropriately structured and resourced to target increased challenges of rural crime – an additional 11 dedicated Rural Crime Investigators have been allocated to rural or regional areas.
Through increased capabilities, between January and August this year, more than 160 rural crime offences have been detected and are currently before the courts and regular operations targeting illegal hunting and trespassing are run across the state.
Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys will also join NSW Police Corporate Spokesperson for Rural Crime, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie at Henty Field Days on Tuesday (18 September 2018) as part of Rural Crime Week.
Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie said farmers should feel comfortable to come forward and report criminal activity with the support of Rural Crime Investigators.
“No matter what primary industry farmers are in, our job, as rural crime investigators, is to work with them and help prevent these crimes. The police and the community are in this together and we need the help of the community to defeat the far-reaching effects of rural crime in our regional communities,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
Rural Crime Week runs from Monday 17 September until Sunday 23 September 2018 and will feature a range of activities and tips on how to protect the livelihood of rural communities by watching out for your neighbours, what steps to take to protect your property, and how to report suspicious activity and illegal behaviour to police.