A roundtable meeting convened in Moree yesterday by Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall brought together senior local Police and council leaders to discuss the concerns of the community around crime in the district.
Recent crime statistics revealed that Moree has one of the highest crime rates in the state. According to the NSW crime statistics agency BOCSAR, Moree Plains Shire has the highest rate of non-DV assault, motor vehicle theft, other stealing offences and malicious damage to property of all local government areas in the state. It ranks at number 2 for domestic violence assault, robbery, break and enter dwelling, steal from a motor vehicle and steal from a retail store. The only major crime category it didn’t rank in the top 10 is break and enter non-dwelling, where it came in number 11.
To discuss the issue, Mr Marshall was joined by Moree Plains Shire Mayor Mark Johnson, Deputy Mayor Susannah Pearse and General Manager Nick Tobin, with the group being briefed on a number of comprehensive police operations launched targeting crime in this district.
“The police response so far to a number of criminal and anti-social behaviour in the Moree Plains region has been comprehensive and targeted,” Mr Marshall said.
“There is however, growing concern about more recent offences involving physical violence and threats, including an appalling attack on staff at the pool a little over one week ago.”
“The need for a roundtable to openly talk about crime in Moree came about due to the obvious level of community concerns, including many people who have called and written to me in recent times and I was hearing the same from the Mayor and other civic leaders.”
“While I was pleased to learn first-hand about the reactivation in recently weeks of Strike Force Jackal which will see additional police deployed in targeted operations across the next three months, and the recent blitz of the area by 60 additional officers in Operation Surge in April, there remains concerns.”
“I have been assured by the New England Police District Commander, Superintendent Steve Laksa, that police staffing levels are strong, the local police are keen and many arrests are being made for all levels of offending.”
“It is also distressing that the local judiciary are permitting the return of seized motorcycles from offenders caught riding illegally and put before the courts, and other offenders are granted bail time after time.”
The MP confirmed that the Moree Police District has a greater number of officers deployed than in Armidale, additionally there are well over 70 agencies providing support to the whole of the community and most importantly, he said, there is community spirit that gets things done.
“While I do not want to discount the fear some members of the Moree and District community are feeling, especially around illegal motor bike activity, I am confident after today’s meeting that our police are taking strong and decisive action,” Mr Marshall said.
“Please ensure that our police have the support and tools to continue pushing back against crime in Moree – report suspicious activity, illegal behaviour and anything you think can help our dedicated officers.”
“It will be with that community support we can push back hard against crime and send lawbreakers on their way,” he said.
Reports can be made directly to Crimestoppers on 1800 333 00 anytime.
Top image: Deputy Mayor Susannah Pearse, left, Superintendent Steve Laksa, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Inspector Kingsley Chapman, Mayor Mark Johnson and General Manager Nick Tobin, meeting in Moree to discuss crime issues yesterday.
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