Operation Claymore to continue to target Moree crime problem, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie confirms

Crackdown to continue: Western Region Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie said police were committed to tackling Moree's rising crime problem.
Crackdown to continue: Western Region Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie said police were committed to tackling Moree's rising crime problem.

A POLICE crackdown on a group of offenders terrorising Moree streets is set to continue after several arrests and searches.

In an interview with Fairfax Media, the Western Region’s top cop has promised the police show of force will continue through to Christmas in a bid to clamp down on rising crime, fuelled mainly by a group of out-of-control youths.

“We will continue to deploy significant numbers of staff in Moree using various resources like OSG (operational support group), highway patrol command, and the domestic violence high-risk offender team to assist local police to deal with the crime issues that are impacting on the community,” Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie said.

“There is a core group of offenders, predominantly young males that are continuing to commit offences and often those offences are being committed by those offenders who are on bail.

There is a core group of offenders, predominantly young males that are continuing to commit offences and often those offences are being committed by those offenders who are on bail.

Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie

“That is why police are concentrating heavily on bail compliance checks on those persons of interest.”

Code-named Operation Claymore, in the first two days, 13 kids roaming the street after midnight were taken home and mandatory reporting to parents were made; 32 people were searched; 25 fines issued; 18 move-on directions issued; as well as hundreds of random breath and roadside drug tests were carried out, along with domestic violence order compliance checks.

Suspect target management plans (STMPs) – a legislated licence for officers to home in on known offenders and proactively target them – are also another weapon in the police arsenal as they drive down property and violent crime gripping the town.

“The recidivist offenders that continue to cause the community the most trouble are being targeted and we are continually putting more pressure on those people,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

The recidivist offenders that continue to cause the community the most trouble are being targeted and we are continually putting more pressure on those people.

Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie

“Often these are young people that aren’t changing their ways, even after they have been charged with offences, put before the courts and placed on bail.”

But Assistant Commissioner McKechnie warned the crackdown would only work if the community was on board.

“Operation Claymore is a high-visibility policing operation that gives police the ability to deploy into locations like Moree where we have identified particular problems that we want to target, and given the concerns that were raised, we’ve initiated that approach,” he said.

“We can’t do this without the community pitching in, and that involves reporting suspicious activity, whether it’s groups roaming the streets, acting suspiciously, or untoward.

“If community members see anything of concern we want them to call us, and we’ll deploy our resources to address these issues.”

Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said a whole-of-community approach to re-engage disaffected or troubled youth as well as those battling addictions was also needed to deter crime.

“It’s got to be a partnership between the community and police for this to work,” he said. “We’re out there investigating crime, arresting individuals and the high-level of visibility of police is not only to deter offenders from committing crime but we want to give the community confidence we are out there on the streets addressing the issues, making it a safer community.”

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