Today the Central North Police District are launching Rural Land Assessment which will focus on building better relationships with landholders.
The initiative, which is being rolled out in the Bourke, Wanaaring and Enngonia sectors, will focus on a number of areas including engagement with landholders, planning and gathering information for emergencies and natural disasters, and the Safe Storage Inspections of firearms.
Bourke Police Sergeant Gavin Smith said the Rural Land Assessment project will be running alongside current operation High Ground to offer personal engagement with landholders and promote police capabilities.
“We control the outback roads in these remote areas a lot and we monitor those through another operation called 'High Ground' where we look at rural patrolling and things like that,” Sergeant Smith said.
“We want to try and build better relationships with land holders …This is an add on to that operation and it's taking it a bit further, so it's more about personal engagement with landholders.”
“Its about promoting what our capabilities are in terms of investigation of rural crime, trends, but also gathering intelligence as well.”
Sergeant Smith said the important aspect of the project will be gathering information for times of emergency, natural disaster and police operations.
“Basically what we want to try and do with that part of the project is have a snapshot of every rural property so that if we are facing or are faced with a natural disaster or emergency, be it a bushfire, flood, fuel spill epidemic, pandemic whatever it might be, then we can have some really crucial information directly related to that property.”
“Its going to ask things like heavy machinery and air strips and pipeable water, and things like that and so that's a really important aspect of it as well.”
Police will also be conducting Safe Storage Inspections of registered firearms to ensure they comply with new Safe Storage Requirements.
“There was an amendment last year to the legislation and the storage requirements, particularly for rural properties.” “So we want to educate farmers about those changes and make sure they're aware of them, and so we are going to conduct those inspections and make sure they comply.”
Sargent Smith said he believes the project is a wise investment of police resources and has had positive feedback from landholders when researching and building the project.
“I hope once it rolls out and we start knocking on doors and driving down driveways, and actually having tea and scones with farmers that it will build relationships and we will get some good positive outcomes from it.
“It's got some legs and hopefully we can improve what we can do, thats what we're trying to do, we're trying to innovate, make things better and improve all those things to make life out here better.”
The initiative will be assessed each month, with plans to roll out the scheme across the state.