SUPPORTING our farmers also means reporting rural crime when it happens and NSW police are urging members of the community to become more aware.
Western Region Commander and NSW Police Corporate Sponsor for Rural Crime, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, was joined by Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant to highlight the impact of rural crime and how people can report incidents to police.
Rural crime is a serious offence
Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said rural crimes are serious offences and can have a substantial impact on the livelihood of farmers.
"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,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
"We take 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.
"We came together today to send a very clear message of support to NSW farmers and the wider community that that's simply not the case,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
"The NSW Police is committed to reducing rural crime and we're very keen to hear from anyone with information that could help our officers in tackling this issue.”
Rural Crime Investigators
The NSW Police Force has a network of specialist Rural Crime Investigators who operate across the state to assist farmers in addressing rural crime.
"Our experienced team of Rural Crime Investigators are very dedicated and often operate their own properties, giving them an innate understanding of the industry, and the challenges they face,” Assistant McKechnie said.
"The community can therefore be confident that they're in capable hands, and a thorough and professional investigative service is available to assist if required.”
Minister Grant said the government is working on several fronts to see rural crime rates reduced.
"A significant part of properly addressing this problem is recognising that our regions face very different crime trends to our cities. This is why I have strongly advocated for a regional Deputy Commissioner in the re-engineering of the NSW Police Force,” Mr Grant said.
"In addition, government will soon decide on the Bradshaw Review's recommendations to strengthen our overall response to rural crime, including stock theft.”
Tackling rural crime
NSW Farmers President Derek Schoen said NSW Farmers has been working closely with the police over the last 12 months to tackle rural crime.
"We know rural crime has devastating impacts on farming businesses and farm families. We also know that many crimes go unreported, meaning the police can't act. Farmers need to work with police to stop crime,” he said.
"We encourage all farmers to get to know their local Rural Crime Investigator, and to report any crime, no matter how big or small.”
Police to address community
Over the coming weeks, NSW Police will be addressing the community to discuss the serious affects of rural crime and to encourage members of the public to make a report.
"Rural crime encompasses a range of challenges from trespassing and illegal hunting to stock, produce and property theft,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
"While we're calling on farmers and the wider community to report rural crime, we're also sharing useful tips on how to secure your property, stock and produce to reduce the risk of any incident occurring.
"In addition, property owners can carry out a comprehensive Farm Security Assessment that's designed to help farmers assess the security of their properties, recognise areas of potential vulnerability and therefore improve prevention measures.”
Members of the community can access the Farm Security Assessment via: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/community_issues/crime_prevention/rural_crime
You can complete the assessment yourself, or you can ask your local Rural Crime Investigator or Crime Prevention Officer to undertake the assessment with you.
To access information brochures with crime prevention strategies addressing a range of key rural crime issues, visit: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/câ€¦/crime_prevention/rural_crime
If you have information about rural crime, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/
Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
You can also make a report to a Rural Crime Investigator by contacting your local police station.
Living and working in rural Australia can be a rewarding and challenging way of life; although it can also be difficult and it's important to ask for help during tough times.
To learn more about support services available to you, visit: https://www.lifeline.org.au/â€¦/Rural-Menâ€¦/Rural-Mental-Health