AS POLICE search for a permanent commander, a new top cop has hit the ground running in Barwon.
Acting Superintendent Brett Smith has taken the reins until the end of the year after former commander Jenny Hayes left the post for a promotion earlier this month.
But he’s no stranger to the area, and Commander Smith lives and breathes country cops.
“I love the challenges of country policing and I’ve got a great team here,” Acting Superintendent Smith told The Leader.
“We’re all working together for one aim and that’s to maintain the community confidence and reduction of crime.”
After 23 years on the blue line you won’t find Commander Smith locked away in an office – rather on the beat is the place to be, he said.
“I don’t like to sit behind a desk, I like to support the troops and that is being on the road too.
“I’m here to support the police on the ground and help them do their business.”
Acting Commander Smith calls Dubbo home, where he’s the Western Region operations manager.
In that role he overlooks high risk jobs, sieges, undercover work, as well as unsolved homicides, but he’s under no illusions his time in Moree will be easy work.
“While I’m here for the next two to three months, what I plan to do is to ensure the team continue to maintain that outlook of safety and zero tolerance to crime,” he said.
“The expectation is that people want to feel safe in their town and in their homes.
“My view is that my police need to maintain that confidence by performing those duties lawfully and arresting and locking up those offenders.”
The acting Barwon boss said police have made in-roads in some areas of crime in recent times.
“We are out there and we’re doing a lot of work,” Acting Superintendent Smith said.
“Our break-and-enters have reduced over the last two to three months and that is based on the hard work and relentless follow-up with victims of crime and information that is provided by the public.”
But he says there is still a long way to go.
“I would like to reduce the fear of crime within the Moree township and basically instil the confidence into the community that police are doing that job,” he said.
“The best thing about country cops is we adapt quickly.
“There are numerous dedicated officers here that are striving to do the best they can in relation to keeping the community safe.
“It’s a matter of ensuring we have all of our systems and processes in place to help.”
NSW police are currently recruiting a permanent commander with an announcement expected before the end of the year.