A Liberal Government will establish a new Livestock and Rural Crime Squad to specialise in dealing with rural crime including farm and livestock theft.
The dedicated Livestock and Rural Crime Squad of 20 new specialist rural crime investigators will be established with Victoria Police in areas that are hardest hit. The 20 new specialist roles will boost dedicated rural crime police numbers by 40 per cent.
Stock theft is becoming a huge business for criminals and its hurting hard working families on the land. Instances of stock theft rose 40 per cent in 2017 and between April 2017 and March 2018 there were 232 instances of ‘Burglary/Break and Enter’ and ‘Theft’ offences recorded where livestock were stolen.
Just 10 of these crimes resulted in an arrest or summons.
This is a state wide problem with police in rural areas agreeing they need more resources to tackle farm theft and crime.
Police Inspector Paul Marshall recently described stock theft: “It’s big business… Traditionally farmers have been left a little bit short on the service they are getting so we’re really trying to correct that and treat stock theft for what it is. It’s a serious organised crime.”
The Livestock and Rural Crime Squad will be based throughout regional Victoria, ensuring unit members will be working in the rural communities they will be protecting.
These 20 new investigation positions will merge with the existing Livestock and Farm Crime Specialist Group and the 48 Agricultural Liaison Officers (AGLOs) to create the new Livestock and Rural Crime Squad.
Comments attributable to Liberal for Shepparton, Cheryl Hammer:
I am part of a farming family and I know firsthand how farm theft and crime can impact on our farmers and their operations.
Not only is it a financial blow to families, but it causes untold stress and anxiety to the victims of this type of crime.
A Livestock and Rural Crime Squad will give the Police the resources they need to put more focus on farm and livestock thefts and protect the livelihoods of our farmers.
Arrests made for farm and livestock theft are at an all time low and that sends a message to criminals that they can probably get away with it.
The Liberals care about our farmers and this will send a strong message to potential criminals that they will be caught and punished if they attempt to steal livestock or other farm property.