A FARM Crime Co-ordination Unit with boosted resources will be created in Victoria, Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville announced today.
The new unit, to involve a team of more than 70 new Farm Crime Liaison Officers, was launched at the Royal Melbourne Show to target farm crime, including livestock and equipment theft.
Ms Neville joined Victoria Police and the Victorian Farmers Federation to announce the creation of the unit.
The unit will be led by Inspector Karl Curran, who will oversee the team of more than 70 new Farm Crime Liaison Officers, previously known as Agricultural Liaison Officers, and additional administrative and coordination support.
The Victorian Government said the unit will strengthen the work already undertaken by AGLOs by providing a dedicated response to target farm crime by monitoring crime trends and patterns, developing intelligence and working with local police to proactively and reactively address issues.
The unit will also work closely with and provide advice to Victoria’s farming and agricultural community, and provide intelligence and operational advice to Victoria Police command.
The creation of the new specialist farm crime unit followed a comprehensive Capability Impact Assessment undertaken by the Victoria Police Capability Department on the AGLO model and response to farm crime.
“We take this type of offending very seriously – the theft of equipment or livestock can have a huge operational impact on our farmers, on top of the financial burden,” Ms Neville said.
“We’ve listened to the increased concerns in rural communities and we’ve acted.
“The new Farm Crime Coordination Unit will help centralise Victoria Police’s response to farm crime, while also ensuring the continued presence of Farm Crime Liaison Officers across the state,” she said.
The government said the enhanced and dedicated leadership and resourcing of the unit will also increase Victoria Police’s ability to respond to the changing nature of crime in rural communities, including the increased use of technology and network offending, the government said.
The government said the latest crime statistics show that in the year to 30 March 2019, almost 3600 farm-related thefts were recorded with power tools, tools, livestock, and electrical appliances among the top items stolen.
The government said its record $3 billion investment in Victoria Police will deliver 3135 new police by 2022, including more resources to the Geelong, Ballarat, Morwell and Bairnsdale regional centres.
More than 1900 new police have already been deployed or allocated to communities across Victoria, with more to come.
The government said it has also provided $900,000 for the Victorian Farmers Federation to work with the farming sector to respond effectively and quickly to animal welfare and biosecurity issues and develop a campaign to maintain the community’s confidence in the industry.
HAVE YOUR SAY