New Livestock and Rural Crime Squad to help protect farmers’ assets
Gippsland farmers will be better protected with a new specialist squad to combat rising rates of rural crime to be established by an elected Nationals Government.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said an elected Liberal Nationals Government will work with Victoria Police to establish a dedicated Livestock and Rural Crime Squad with 20 specialist rural crime investigators – increasing the number of dedicated rural crime police by 40 per cent.
“Livestock theft hurts our hard-working farmers and their families,” Mr O’Brien 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.
“A Liberal Nationals Government will work to correct that and treat stock theft for what it is – a serious organised crime.”
Stock theft rose 40 per cent 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.
In 2017, two South Gippsland farmers took matters into their own hands after initial police investigations stalled, offering monetary rewards for any information leading to an arrest after having livestock stolen from their properties.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Member for Agriculture Peter Walsh said Daniel Andrews is the Premier for Melbourne, while the Liberal Nationals will govern for all of Victoria.
“At the moment because of Labor’s cuts to police, there are only ever a handful of arrests made for farm and livestock theft 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.”
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.
Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien says Gippsland farmers will be better protected with The Nationals to establish a new Livestock and Rural Crime Squad.