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“We can’t arrest our way out of crime”

Police Minister Yasmin Catley (centre) after meeting with Maranguka in Bourke with at back l-r: Ricky Young, Graham Wright, Liz Orcher, Buddy Moore, Deputy Commissioner Paul Pisanos, Acting Superintendent Gerard Lawson, Inspector Peter Walton, Ben Orcher and James Moore. Front l-r: Tracey Edwards, Cathy Lowe, Dot Martin, Dawn Smith, Police Minister Yasmin Catley, Lyiata Ballangarry, Maxine Mackay, Margo Grimes, Tanya Demmery and Sandra Kelly. Photo TWH

With a goal to travel the state and “find out what’s happening on the ground”, two high profile police representatives have been visiting the outback.

Police Minister Yasmin Catley and Deputy Commissioner of Regional NSW Field Operations Paul Pisanos travelled to Bourke, Brewarrina, Enngonia, Goodooga Walgett and Lightning Ridge last week, meeting community members and getting a sense of local issues.

“It’s a great community out here,” Ms Catley said. “There are definitely some youth issues that we have to deal with - and that includes the police, community and other providers. We’re out here looking at the programs that are running, meeting some of the locals and people that are providing those services in the community.”

“Paul and I are out here to talk to community and see what we can do in a policing sense to address things. It’s been my observation that we have some serious community and social problems.”

Youth crime a broad issue

Minister Catley said that crime issues are not just isolated to outback towns but are widespread.

“These are not just policing problems,” she said. “We can’t arrest our way out of this crime, we need to look at the core root of the problem. And that includes social breakdown in community.”

“I’m working very closely with my colleagues in the justice area with FACS, Aboriginal Affairs, youth justice, and the like, all working together. Education is a big player, and we are working closely with this sector so that we can look at the core root of the problem. Policing is part of it – but it’s not just policing, there’s many more layers that also need to be looked at.”

Collaboration with the community ranks highly for Ms Catley and Mr Pisanos with groups such as Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAMS) and PCYC seen as very important.

“They are trying hard to do things on the ground to make a difference to divert kids away from the justice system,” Ms Catley said. “That’s what we want to be doing. And police are certainly punching above their weight in that regard. But we do need a whole-of-community approach.”

“If people are frightened in their homes - that’s not right. And we want to be part of the solution to fixing that.” […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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