Police Agriculture | July 27, 2018
Cracking down on livestock theft
A Liberal Nationals Government will crack down on livestock theft in western Victoria by establishing a statewide Livestock and Rural Crime Squad.
The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP said the Liberal Nationals would work with Victoria Police to establish the squad which would include 20 new specialist rural crime investigators, boosting police numbers in that field by 40 per cent.
“As a country MP I hear first-hand just how much devastation stock theft causes in our rural communities and I have had a number of local farmers call for this specialised squad. I am pleased to say we will deliver it if elected in November,” Ms Kealy said.
“Farmers have been left frustrated by the lack of dedicated police resources and feel their concerns are being ignored by the city-centric Labor Government.
“Local police and the existing Agricultural Liaison Officers are doing a good job, but it is clear they need more support given the instances of rural crime taking place across Victoria and particularly here in western Victoria.
“A Liberal Nationals Government will correct that and treat stock theft for what it is – a serious organised crime,” she said.
Stock theft rose 40 per centre in 2017 compared to the year before.
Between April 2017 and March 2018 there were 232 recorded offences where livestock were stolen in Victoria, with only ten resulting in an arrest or summons.
Leader of the Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the Liberal Nationals will govern for all Victoria, unlike Daniel Andrews the Premier for Melbourne.
“Because of Labor’s cuts to police there are only ever a handful of arrests made for farm and livestock theft at the moment and that sends a message to criminals that they can probably get away with it,” Mr Walsh said.
“A Liberal Nationals Government will send a strong message to potential criminals that if they are thinking about farm and livestock theft you will get caught and you will get punished,” he said.
Victoria Police will inform the final operational structure of the specialist unit, however it is intended that the roles will be located throughout regional Victoria, ensuring unit members will be working in the rural communities they will be protecting.
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