Tamworth crime crisis meeting rescheduled

A CRISIS meeting to address Tamworth’s escalating crime issues has been postponed until tomorrow. 

The meeting was set down for today but has been changed to enable the city’s senior police to attend the Sydney funeral of murdered police officer Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson, who was killed in the line of duty while trying to help resolve a violent neighbourhood dispute in Oakville last Thursday. 

The meeting involving mayor Col Murray, state MP Kevin Anderson and Oxley Local Area Commander Clint Pheeney was organised last week after statistics revealed crime levels in the region had increased over the past 12 months.

It will now be held tomorrow at 4pm and Oxley local Area Command crime manager Phil O’Reilly will take Mr Pheeney’s seat. 

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said it was hoped Mr Pheeney would be able to be “dialled in” to the conversation. 

“He will be away but we are happy we can figure out the next step with the three of us around the table,” he said. 

Mr Anderson said the meeting aimed to identify what else could be done to combat the instances of crime and what was in place that wasn’t working. 

“Since November last year an additional 25 police have been posted to the Oxley Local Area Command,” Mr Anderson said, agreeing that the issue had moved on from not having enough police on the ground. 

“It’s important to remember that the figures released last week were from before the police Target Action Group  was reinstated and a number of other crackdown operations were initiated.

“Hopefully when the next lot of statistics are released we will see there is a decrease resulting from those operations.”

He said it was important people knew work was happening behind the scenes to try to find solutions. 

“Things are happening,” he said. 

“But yes, at times it seems like we are losing the battle.”

He said he hoped other factors including reviews of the Bail Act, circle sentencing and juvenile justice would present opportunities for change. 

“Aside from that though I am being told by elders locally that there is no respect from the youth,” he said. 

“That would suggest that what is happening is a result of a more problematic systemic societal 

breakdown.”

Mr Anderson said other angles were also being reviewed.

“There have been meetings with the Department of Housing, Community Services, Juvenile Justice, 

and the Department of Premier and Cabinet to try and develop a more holistic approach,” he said. 

“A camp for young people that will help realign them has been talked about. We need to find out from the people who deal with crime what the cause is and what resources and support are needed to fix it.”

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