STOCK theft, bio-security and illegal hunting are among the issues up for discussion at the annual Rural Crime Investigators Conference that kicks off in Port Macquarie today (Tuesday, October 25).
The two-day conference provides a rare opportunity for NSW Police's 34 specially-trained Rural Crime Investigators (RCIs) to meet and discuss crime trends and subsequent strategies specific to rural and regional NSW.
Other agenda items include trespassing, the growth of the illicit poppies industry, and the use of GPS and other spatial technologies.
In addition, RCIs will gain further knowledge about the Real Time Intelligence Centre and how their work may offer assistance during local investigations.
Western Region Commander and NSW Police Corporate Spokesperson for Rural Crime, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, said the conference will also be nationally focused with guest spokespeople from both the Queensland Police Service and Victoria Police attending to discuss current rural crime trends across their respective states.
"Given our Rural Crime Investigators work far and wide, this annual gathering is an important strategy in keeping abreast of developing issues affecting rural communities right across NSW," Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
"The conference welcomes other government agencies to address the forum too, as we're often working with other stakeholders in this space.
"It also demonstrates how seriously the NSW Police, and law enforcement agencies across Australia, take rural crime and how we're working together to address it.
"We know that the theft of livestock, produce and equipment; illegal shooting, trespassing and other rural crimes can have a devastating effect on farmers, the community and the industry as a whole."
The Rural Crime Investigators Pin will also be presented during the conference, and the winner of the annual Rural Crime Investigation Award announced.
"We are the only law enforcement agency in Australia to have a nationally accredited course for Rural Crime Investigators, to ensure they're highly trained with the right skills and resources to work with their local community," Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
"Our experienced team of Rural Crime Investigators are very dedicated and often operate their own properties, giving them an innate understanding of the industry, and the challenges they face.
"The Rural Crime Investigators Award acknowledges the excellent works of one such officer and the efforts they've made in working with their local community this year.
"The Rural Crime Investigators Pin will also be presented to eligible officers, which is a reflection of the specialist skills, experience and knowledge required to perform the role.
"The NSW Police takes every rural crime seriously; however, we've found it continues to go unreported because victims often believe there's no proof, it's not serious enough to warrant police investigation, or they think nothing can be done.
"Our network of Rural Crime Investigators is working very hard to change that perception and I can assure the community that they're in capable hands, and a thorough and professional investigative service is available to assist if required."
If you have information about rural crime please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.
You can also make a report to a Rural Crime Investigator by contacting your local police station.
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