Tamworth crime-prevention group’s new members welcomed

THE newest members of a team dedicated to implementing crime-prevention programs and strategies in the Tamworth region come with a long list of credentials and each says they are keen to hit the ground running. 

At the council meeting on Tuesday night, Peel High School principal Bill Campbell, former Tamworth magistrate Mal MacPherson and former Tamworth police officer Mark Hamlin were announced as the newest members of the Tamworth Regional Council’s Crime Prevention Working Group.

Yesterday two of the three men – Mr MacPherson was an apology – took part in their first meeting.

Over the coming months they will contribute heavily.

The other members of the group include councillors Warren Woodley, Phil Betts and Juanita Wilson, representatives from the Tamworth Liquor Accord, Tamworth police and the Tamworth Business Chamber and a member of the Coledale Community Centre.

The group will develop a new strategy to combat low-level crime and anti-social behaviour across the council region. 

Mr Campbell said he nominated after being encouraged by several people who knew of his long-term interest in law, the legal system and education. 

“I taught legal studies for more than 15 years and have worked as an educator and really have always had an interest in both,” Mr Campbell said. 

“I was keen to be able to contribute using my background, but also because I have raised my children here and want our city to be a place that people are proud of and that is attractive to other people.”

Mr Campbell said he saw his role as an elected community representative as a bit of an advocacy role.

“I would hope, if there are people out there who have suggestions, that they would feel it’s okay to approach me or the other three community representatives,” he said. 

Mr Hamlin said he nominated because, being a former police officer, a number of people had approached him with their concerns about crime.

“I saw being a community representative of the group as being a voice for the people who had brought their issues, concerns and ideas to me,” he said. 

“I am interested in doing things to combat the anti-social behaviour problems, because I honestly believe we need Tamworth’s streets to belong to the people again.”

Group chairman and councillor Russell Webb said during the next few months the group’s agenda would include the development of a four-year crime-prevention plan.

“We will focus on some of the city’s bigger crime issues and how the group can put plans in place and work with different agencies to combat them,” he said.

“Then we will look at strategies we can develop with those groups, like the Department of Housing and DoCS, as well as police, to build strategies that will help us to work together to overcome some of those crime-related problems.

“While it’s not concrete and can be changed, if issues come up, it helps us to identify priorities and acts as a guide for what we want to achieve.”

After the plan is established, it will be brought to a future council meeting for approval and then sent to Attorney-General Greg Smith’s office.

The launch of the long-awaited night patrol bus, one of the recommendations from Tamworth’s law-and-order meeting in December 2011, is expected soon.

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