Rural crime on the agenda

Getting tough: Troy Grant and Geoff McKechnie launched Rural Crime Week in Dubbo last week, and were in Port Macquarie on Tuesday for the annual Rural Crime Investigators Conference. Photo: GRACE RYANThe state government and NSW Police are continuing their crackdown onrural crime with a Rural Crime Investigators Conference under way in Port Macquarie.
Nanjing Night Net

Just a week after Dubbo-basedWestern Region Commander and NSW Police Corporate Spokesperson for Rural Crime, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, and Dubbo MP and Deputy Premier Troy Grant launched rural crime week, they were at the conference discussing ways to reduce the misconduct.

“It [the conference] demonstrates how seriously the NSW Police, and law enforcement agencies across Australia, take rural crime and how we’re working together to address it,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

“We know that the theft of livestock, produce and equipment; illegal shooting, trespassing and other rural crimes can have a devastating effect on farmers, the community and the industry as a whole.”

The two-day conference began on Tuesday andprovideda rare opportunity for NSW Police’s 34 specially-trained Rural Crime Investigators to meet and discuss crime trends and subsequent strategies specific to rural and regional NSW.

Other items expected to be discussedincluded trespassing on rural properties, the growth of the illicit poppies industry, and the use of GPS and other spatial technologies.

One of the keys to reducing crime was ensuring landholders reported it as soon as they were aware a crime had been committed,Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

“The NSW Police takes every rural crime seriously.However, we’ve found it continues to go unreported because victims often believe there’s no proof, it’s not serious enough to warrant police investigation, or they think nothing can be done,” he said.

“Our network of Rural Crime Investigators is working very hard to change that perception and I can assure the community that they’re in capable hands.”

Mr Grant, who is also the Minister of Justice and Police, said he was honoured to be involved in the conference, and was due to present awards to Rural Crime Investigators.

“Our trained Rural Crime Investigators are hard-working members of the force and the NSW Government is working with them to ensure our regions get the targeted policing they need,” Mr Grant said.

“‎As someone that spent their policing career predominantly in country NSW and represent a regional electorate, I’m committed to driving down rural crime.

“I know first-hand rural crime investigation often involves specific skills, legislation and great distances ‎and I thank all officers for their dedication to our regional and remote communities.”

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