‘Local solutions’ to crime needed
Thursday, 13th March, 2014
By Nick Gibbs
Developing crime management plans from the ground up was the main message from local politicians during a meeting of the NSW Rural Crime Advisory Group in city yesterday.
Mayor Wincen Cuy and Nationals MP John Williams both pushed their shared view at the meeting with police and the NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services Geoff Provest.
Mayor Cuy said that policy decisions should start at a local level.
“Decisions should be made from the ground up, not parachuted in from Sydney or Canberra,” he said.
Mr Williams agreed that tailoring solutions for country areas was the best way forward, using the example of closing all bottle shops at 10pm as inappropriate for the far west.
“Ultimately it’s about understanding that one size doesn’t fit all,” he said.
“We are a bit different out here.”
Mr Provest agreed that it was important to visit country towns to understand local issues and said the NSW Rural Crime Advisory Group was an opportunity for interest groups to meet and discuss rural crime.
“It’s about listening to local people and developing common sense approaches,” he said.
Copper and stock theft as well as illegal shooting and trespassing were named as problems common to country areas.
Mr Provest credited Mr Williams with lobbying the group to visit.
“You couldn’t get a better advocate than John Williams. He speaks his mind and tells it how it is,” he said.
Among the NSW Police representatives was Western Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie who spoke about crime in the Barrier Local Area Command.
“In general terms, crime levels have been going pretty well,” he said.
Domestic and alcohol-related violence were the main issues as well as vandalism.
“It’s the age old message to look after one another. Broken Hill still has a strong sense of community,” he said.
Mr McKechnie said the well-publicised problems crystal methamphetamine was causing over the border in Mildura was a concern and work with highway patrols was central to its management.
Addressing the meeting, Mayor Cuy said Broken Hill was changing and that the ageing population would provide challenges.
“The reliance becomes less and less,” he said in regard to citizens looking out for one another as they get older.