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'We need 24-hour policing in rural communities'

Western Plains App

Luke Williams

13 May 2024, 9:20 PM

'We need 24-hour policing in rural communities'Arguments mount for around the clock policing in regional communities.

First the Country Mayors Association called for it. Now it's the Country Women's Association of NSW who say rural areas desperately need 24 hour policing.


“Urgent and immediate action to establish 24-hour policing in all larger regional, rural and remote shires” was voted for the CWA following an illuminating panel discussion involving Peter Price, CEO of Crime Stoppers NSW, Adam DeMamiel from Boys to the Bush and Jamie Chaffey head of the Country Mayors Association.


Mr Chaffey told the conference that “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem, but it makes a hell of difference if you have police”.


The mayor of Gunnedah said there was a lack of “proactive policing in rural communities”.


Pushing regional crime all the way to the top

Police Association NSW President Kevin Morton, Country Mayors' Association NSW Chairman Mayor Chaffey and Mayor of Parkes Ken Keith. (PANSW)


“We don’t see police officers walking up and down the streets. We need to go into the communities and find people who are going to become police officers”.


Peter Price, CEO of NSW Crime Stoppers, shone further light on the growing problem of rural crime saying that his view “was nobody is born a criminal, people become a criminal in the society grow up in.”

He said the problem of rural crime could not be divorced from the issue of drugs - in particular crystal meth.


“Rural Australia is where a lot of meth is being manufactured” he said.


“We have to work together to combat crime - we don’t want to get it to a point where people stop reporting crime to the police because there is so much of it. Crime, especially rural crime, is already under-reported. If you see something, get on the phone, call the police”.



Two men accused of running Breaking Bad-style meth lab hidden on rural  property near Braidwood face court - ABC News

A meth lab was discovered near Braidwood in 2022.


But it was Boys to the Bush an organisation that runs programs for the most vulnerable youth in NSW, including in Dubbo, which left people gasping with its stories of what many young people’s lives were like before they turned to crime.


Their CEO Adam DeMamiel told the conference that when he started the organisation he discovered “kids I never knew existed. Kids who have never, ever been to school. Kids who are kept in cages and chained up”.


“We need to stop looking at band-aid fixes and stop putting money in things that have a really short time frame. This is not just a police responsibility. These are not new crimes, the problems are compounding though and everyone can be part of the solution in their own community”.


Boys to the Bush mentoring program makes a difference for disadvantaged  youth - ABC News

Image: Boys to the Bush.

 

‘It’s the Problem Everyone Is Talking About”

CWA President Joy Beames said that rural crime was a topic on many people’s lips at the conference.


“It’s everywhere” she told the Western Plains App


Ms Beames said that she took a particular interest in the Boys to the Bush program.


“They have had great success” she said “They take the boys out to the bush where they can’t use electronic devices and one of the things they teach them is that it is ok to be bored.”


New police officer loving Tottenham life | The Coonamble Times

Senior Constable Nikolas Fluro moved to Tottenham in 2023.


She explained that Boys to the Bush ran programs such as getting the boys into mechanics programs where one of the beneficial aspects was the boys formed strong bonds with the older men who they work with.

“It just grounds them.”


Ms Beames said that the congregation were also swayed by Cr Chaffey’s call for a need for 24 policing in all communities with the conference passing the motion calling for more police in regional, rural and remote areas.


NSW Police data released in March shows that 90 percent of all police stations in the wider metropolitan Sydney area are open 24 hours a day, compared to regional New South Wales, where only 14 per cent of stations are manned 24 hours.