Rural Crime Week kicks off with tough reforms targeting offenders
The second annual NSW Rural Crime Week officially commenced today just days after the Liberals & Nationals Government introduced a Bill to strengthen legislation regarding stock theft, trespass and illegal hunting.
Minister for Police Troy Grant joined NSW Police Deputy Commissioner for Regional Field Operations Gary Worboys and Assistant Commissioner and Western Region Commander Geoff McKechnie to launch the week and announce the establishment of rural crime prevention teams for regional NSW.
Mr Grant welcomed the operational reforms proposed by the NSW Police Force, in response to the NSW Government’s Bradshaw Review.
“Farmers and property-owners right across regional NSW can be assured that we are working closely with police to stamp out rural crime,” Mr Grant said.
“The job of a farmer is hard enough as it is without having to bear the brunt of such wanton acts of destruction. That is why I commissioned former NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Steve Bradshaw to undertake a review of the current law.
“Earlier this year, this Government announced a suite of reforms in response to the recommendations made by Mr Bradshaw in his report.
“These measures will ensure the courts have appropriate penalties available to hold offenders to account, and to deter would-be criminals from engaging in this hideous behaviour, which costs country communities and hard-working rural residents a fortune.
“The NSW Police Force takes rural crime very seriously, and today’s announcement regarding the introduction of rural crime prevention teams highlights this.
“The reforms currently before the NSW Parliament are designed to give officers the legislative framework they need to solve these crimes and give farmers the confidence to report criminal activity.”
Deputy Commissioner Worboys said the establishment of rural crime prevention teams is one of many new operational enhancements the NSW Police Force is proposing in response to the Bradshaw Review.
“More specially trained rural crime officers will be clustered in our regional centres to respond quickly and efficiently to rural crime as part of the re-engineering process and in response to the Bradshaw Review,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
“The NSW Police Force is the only law enforcement agency in Australia to have a nationally accredited course for Rural Crime Investigators (RCIs), and we are committed to ongoing education and training as part of the strengthened response to rural crime.”
As part of 2017 Rural Crime Week, NSW Police will run a campaign to raise awareness and facilitate community engagement. Each day this week will have a particular focus on a different aspect of rural crime, including illegal hunting and trespass, firearms theft and safekeeping, livestock theft, and crime prevention.