LOCAL anti-crime campaigners have demanded an extension of a one-month trial for a dog squad in Tamworth to fully test it.
The NSW police minister announced last Friday a handler and a general duties german shepherd will be stationed in Tamworth as part of a one month trial from September 15, but there are no promises it will stay long term.
Deputy mayor and Crime Prevention Committee chairman Russell Webb was part of a petition which attracted almost 20,000 signatures, calling for more resources for police to attack crime head-on.
“I don’t believe a one month trial period is enough to assess the real benefits of the squad but it means we have to make the best of having it here,” he told The Leader.
“If the police service in our area command is able to make use of this added resource and get some potentially good outcomes, it will very good for our future.
“Having a dog here is not the be-all-and-end-all but it certainly does give them an advantage they haven’t had in the past.”
Similarly, Renee Bourne has driven the campaign since November to secure a dog squad to town, obtaining more than 5000 signatures and said she was stoked with the announcement.
“I have heard people say that all the crooks will just go into hiding, well if the statistics go down then it shows it’s working,” she said.
“Of course we want it full time straight away, but we will take what we can get.”
Ms Bourne said she would “be surprised if it wasn’t put here full time because it will be proven by the end of it.”
“When our two stores were broken into over a few months, the feedback we got from police is that they need more resources,” she said.
“That’s what drove us from the start, to get more resources for the crime levels and for the drug levels.”
Police Minister Stuart Ayers said the test won’t be a numerical assessment on how many call outs the dog squad attends but rather what it does – and the commander said it will be on call.
Acting Oxley Superintendent Paul Johnson confirmed yesterday the command will aim to use the dog where possible.