HE’S the familiar face in the blue uniform who has been leading local police across the region for almost a decade.
Former Oxley duty officer and now Oxley Police District Superintendent Fred Trench has called Tamworth home for close to a decade.
In January, he took the reins of the new Oxley Police District after getting the nod from the state’s police commissioner.
He hit the ground running and said property crime and drug supply remain two of his top priorities.
Earlier this year, Superintendent Trench said he was looking forward to the challenge of leading more than 185 sworn and unsworn officers, including nine new additional positions, announced as part of the force’s reshuffle.
In February, he officially took over the command, overseeing an area stretching from Willow Tree to the Pilliga, encompassing Tamworth, Quirindi, Gunnedah, Boggabri, Narrabri, Wee Waa, Walcha, and everywhere in between.
And it’s the great divide which is part of the appeal of policing in the western region for this police officer.
“It is very different, you are more involved in the community, which is a positive thing, and it gives you more of a sense of ownership,” he told The Leader when he took the reins of New England in 2015.
Quiet often when I am out and about, and driving in the Command, I think of my Sydney counterparts driving along a busy freeway or congested road.Superintendent Fred Trench
“Quiet often when I am out and about, and driving in the Command, I think of my Sydney counterparts driving along a busy freeway or congested road.”
Since graduating from the police academy in 1982, Superintendent Trench has worked on the beat in Kogarah, the Central Coast, the former Central Police Station in Sydney, as well as detective roles in Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and the Criminal Investigation Branch.
In that time he investigated numerous murder cases in the homicide squad and various strike forces, but most notably was one of the detectives tasked with solving the John Newman murder in 1998 – Australia’s first political assassination.
Championing community policing – something his predecessor in New England did – was something Superintendent Trench said he’s committed too.
Boasting a 36-year career in the force, he’s no stranger to the area. And it’s that knowledge which he says is crucial to spearheading the local force.
“Property crime and break-and-enters are a focus, particularly in Tamworth, and I’m committed to targeting drug crime and putting all resources available in that because it’s all interconnected,” he said after his appointment.
“If you can stem the drug dealing then that impacts on other areas of crime like property offences and domestic violence.”
Superintendent Trench said the scourge of drugs like ice are one of the primary problems fuelling crime rates, and he was determined to tackle the root causes.
“You can’t arrest your way out of problems like this,” he said.
“We need a whole-community approach, that includes working with locals, reporting suspicious activity but also changing societal issues so that it is not reacting to these situations.
“We will continue proactive operations in a bid to prevent crime, and that is something we have to work with the community to achieve.”