Stock theft, bio-security and illegal hunting were among the issues up for discussion at the annual Rural Crime Investigators Conference that kicked off in Port Macquarie on Tuesday, October 25.
The two-day conference provides a rare opportunity for NSW Police’s 34 specially-trained Rural Crime Investigators (RCIs) to meet and discuss crime trends and subsequent strategies specific to rural and regional NSW.
Other agenda items at the conference included trespassing on rural properties, the growth of the illicit poppies industry, and the use of GPS and other spatial technologies.
Western Region Commander and NSW Police Corporate Spokesperson for Rural Crime, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, said the conference had a national focus with guest spokespeople from both the Queensland Police Service and Victoria Police.
“Given our Rural Crime Investigators work far and wide, this annual gathering is an important strategy in keeping abreast of developing issues affecting rural communities right across NSW,” 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.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant also also attended the conference and reiterated a desire to drive down rural crime.
"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.”
To access information brochures with crime prevention strategies addressing a range of rural crime issues, visit: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/community_issues/crime_prevention/rural_crime
Information about rural crime can be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, on the Crime Stoppers online reporting page or by contacting your local police station.