PGA and Police join forces on crime

30 Aug, 2000 03:04 PM

THE $500,000-plus annual cost to rural WA in stolen stock has prompted an alliance between the PGA and WA Police Service to address law and order issues in remote WA. Due to mounting concern at the PGA, which currently receive at least one complaint a week from members regarding law and safety issues on farms, Police Commissioner Barry Matthews and PGA president Barry Court met earlier this year and identified a range of concerns among remote and rural communities. These included stock theft, arson and trespassing, the use of firearms and the rights of property owners. The alliance was formally launched last Friday, with Mr Court saying he looked forward to a renewed commitment by the PGA and the Police to assist each other. "As well as crime prevention and personal safety issues, this strategy is aimed at protecting the environment," Mr Court said. "Unfortunately, there is a perception by some people that it is all right to enter private property and light fires, remove cattle and shoot kangaroos or livestock." With the help of the police, this latest program, which will be run in conjunction with Rural Watch and will involve signs being placed at vantage points around pastoral properties, aims to educate the public about what they can and can't do on the property, as well as the potential dangers to the environment when these property restrictions are broken. Mr Matthews said there was a pressing need for both the police and pastoralists to pool resources to address the increasing range of law and order issues in remote areas. "I believe we now have a strategy that complements the existing Rural Watch program that will significantly improve the security of our outback communities," he said. In regard to policing the project, Mr Matthews said it was quite clearly not possible to have police officers everywhere, so the main object was to educate people "that you can't just walk on to someone else's property". Close to 2500 signs will be distributed to PGA members and through rural police stations, beginning primarily in the pastoral region, with the first sign free of charge and other signs sold at cost.


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