THE SPECIALIST police operation targeting "frightening" levels of property crime across the region has levelled more than 70 charges in the last two months alone, and community leaders are calling for back-up.
Tamworth mayor Russell Webb has joined forces with Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey as the partners in crime push for more police to hit the beat in the Oxley district.
"Our men and women in blue serve their community ... to the best of their ability, but quite simply, there isn't enough of them," Cr Chaffey said.
"I'm hopeful that other councils, councillors and other communities will stand up and say it's not good enough."
Cr Webb echoed those concerns.
"We are under-resourced, we are under pressure, we need to get some positions out into the bush," he said.
The leaders have upped the ante in the fight to bolster the thin blue line after the latest crime statistics, which only go up to December, showed property crime increases in Tamworth and Gunnedah.
"A lot of our crime is interlinked so we need to work together and we need to work in a strong manner to encourage more resources to policing in our zone," Cr Webb said.
"That will help us continue to grow and prosper."
The pair of mayors are taking a combined approach to advocate for their "frightened" communities as police chases, car thefts and break-ins leave residents worried and police at their wits' end.
The police union (PANSW) has called for at least eight new officers to be posted to the Oxley district.
The top priority is to boost boots in the proactive crime team (PCT) - the specialist, covert squad which can dedicate hours on end to targeting suspected offenders, patrolling hotspots and acting on intelligence.
The local PCT team has not been expanded in decades, leaving half-a-dozen officers to cover an area from Walcha to Wee Waa.
Cr Chaffey said swift action was needed "before there are some terrible consequences".
The Leader can confirm Operation Southbreak police laid more than 70 charges in February and March.
In the first three-and-a-bit weeks of that month, the operation saw 12 people arrested and charged with 17 offences.
Our men and women in blue serve their community ... to the best of their ability, but quite simply, there isn't enough of them.- Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey
"Local police are aware of a number of recent incidents of property crime involving young offenders in the Oxley Police District - particularly the theft of property and motor vehicles resulting from home burglaries," NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Daniel Sullivan told the Leader.
Meetings have been taking place between the PANSW, top cops and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, with another set down for later this month.
"This allows for concerns about resourcing or other operational matters to be discussed and solutions to be implemented where possible," Acting Assistant Commissioner Sullivan said.
NSW Police determine the allocation of new officers based on resource requirements and how best to prevent, disrupt and respond to emerging crime issues.
Current crime statistics are taken into account.
Police also work with partners in the government and the justice system to ensure diversionary measures are in place for young people who are at risk of going down a troubling path.
Cr Webb said that was essential and those services needed to be a priority.
A spokesperson for Police Minister Paul Toole told the Leader in a statement that police would continue to hold offenders to account.
Mr Anderson agreed more police in positions like the PCT team are needed locally and now was the time to push for them, with the allocation looming.
"I want the Oxley Police District to be at the front of the queue," he said.
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