Rural crime officers and local police are keen to help

While there may have only been a small turn out of rural landholders for last week’s Rural Crime Forum in Cobar, those who did attend report they gained some valuable information.
Led by Rural Crime Prevention Team officers, Acting Sergeant Graeme Campbell and Senior Constable Andrew Smith, last Wednesday night’s forum at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club outlined the role of rural crime officers and how they work in with local police to detect and help prevent rural crimes from happening.
Acting Sergeant Campbell said over the past two years the Rural Crime Prevention Team has almost doubled with 53 officers now dedicated to working only on rural crimes.
“There has been a renewed focus on pre-venting rural crime,” Acting Sergeant Campbell said.
He said the team wants to facilitate a rela-tionship between police and farmers to help reduce the instances of stock theft, trespass, illegal hunting and the theft of machinery and firearms. He outlined ways that land-holders can help police in preserving crime scene evidence and recommended that whenever possible to take photos of evi-dence and of trespassers and their vehicles.
Acting Sergeant Campbell urged landhold-ers who were victims of crime to report it firstly to their local police, to his team, or in the case of an emergency (ie if they confront an illegal trespasser) they can ring 000.
“We don’t want to see property owners get into trouble by confronting trespassers.”
Local police officer, Senior Constable Lucas Hardy, attended the forum and en-couraged locals to report any criminal activi-ty they encounter.
“Over the past 12 months police have seen a decrease in rural crime incidents which has been pleasing.
“Despite this, Cobar Police encourage local landowners and employees to continue to report all matters to local police who will work collaboratively with the Rural Crime Prevention Team to respond to rural related crimes,” Senior Constable Hardy said.