Police Agriculture | October 01, 2019

Part-time squad not enough to tackle rural crime

The Andrews Labor Government’s announcement of measures to tackle farm crime falls well short of what is needed to crack down on the theft of livestock and farm equipment.

The Andrews Labor Government announced a Farm Crime Co-ordination Unit this week but despite Daniel Andrews claim it has created 70 new positions, in reality it has offered no additional resources, instead just rebranding existing Agricultural Liaison Officers (AGLOs).

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said before the 2018 State Election, the Liberal Nationals committed to establish a specialist rural crime unit with an additional 20 officers dedicated to solving rural crimes.

“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 raise concerns who have called for a dedicated rural crime unit,” Ms Kealy said.

“Local police and the existing AGLOs are doing the best they can with the resources they have, but they are having to combine rural crime investigations with their other duties and it’s clear they need more support given the instances of rural crime taking place across Victoria and particularly here in western Victoria.

“A lot of rural crime goes unreported because country folk just accept that it will be difficult to get investigators out to help them.

“That’s a direct result of there being too few frontline police dedicated to solving rural crime and to provide an active and visible police presence in the community.”

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh said Labor had failed to act on rural crime.

“Without a commitment from the Government for new frontline roles and a dedicated, specialist rural crime unit, this is just Labor shuffling the deck chairs,” Ms Walsh said.

“The devil is always in the detail with Daniel Andrews and once you look closely at this announcement it falls well short of what our farmers have been calling for.”

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