THE NSW Premier has heard the cries of Tamworth residents, urging him to take further action to reduce the city’s crime rate.
A month after The Leader launched a community action campaign, urging residents to write to Barry O’Farrell and request the help of him and his government in addressing the problems, Mr O’Farrell has responded.
He has written back to each of the reported 145 letters he received, outlining the government’s measures to help reduce the city’s crime rate.
In his letter, Mr O’Farrell said the Oxley Local Area Command (LAC) was at 100 per cent operational capacity and was well-staffed, with an authorised strength of 134 and an actual strength of 146, which was boosted by the arrival of 11 probationary constables from the May graduating class.
According to Mr O’Farrell, Oxley LAC undertakes regular tasking and deployment meetings to identify hotspots that need increased patrols, and uses a number of strategies to target vehicle theft following break and enters.
It was also active in the Tamworth Place Team and the development of the Coledale revitalisation strategy, Mr O’Farrell said.
He said the NSW Police Force was working on proposals to address concerns raised in a ministerial audit on police resources.
But he did not outline any further steps the government would take, beyond continuing to collaborate with the police to “ensure that best outcomes are delivered to your community”.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson welcomed the Premier’s response and said he believed addressing the situation in Tamworth remained a high priority of Mr O’Farrell.
He said more could be done and a whole-of-community, interagency strategy was needed to properly address the issue.
Mr Anderson told The Leader a range of agencies, including Community Services, Juvenile Justice, Housing NSW and the Department of Premier and Cabinet, were working together to develop such a strategy to prevent people from being driven to crime in the first place.
“We need to do something different to get a different response, a different outcome,” Mr Anderson said.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said the council was hopeful other initiatives would also get off the ground, including the allocation of more probationary constables from the next graduating class and the eventual arrival of a dog squad.
He said there was no “silver bullet” to solve these issues and it was a problem deeply embedded in society, but he believed Tamworth was on the front foot and well-placed to tackle the problems it faced.