Lack of live­stock rustling hob­bles PRC push

Pilbara News - - News - Re­becca Par­ish

Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Fri­day says he was shocked last week to find there had been no re­ports of live­stock theft in the Pil­bara to WA Police in the last 12 months.

The com­ments were made in re­sponse to a let­ter to WA Police by the lobby group call­ing for the re­in­state­ment of the re­gion’s Live­stock Squad, which was dis­banded in 2008.

Mr Fri­day said the push by PRC had come from in­for­ma­tion from pas­toral­ists and he said while there was a lot of anec­do­tal ev­i­dence about live­stock theft, he un­der­stood the po­si­tion of the police.

“The police have quite rightly come back and said ‘well, we’ve got to have re­ported crimes in or­der to be able to al­lo­cate of­fi­cers and re­sources to pur­sue those crimes’,” he said.

“And it’s an ex­tremely rea­son­able po­si­tion on their part, as far as I’m con­cerned.”

So far this year, 26 re­ports have been made to police about live­stock thefts in WA and De­tec­tive Sergeant Dave Hass said there were none in the sys­tem re­lat­ing to the Pil­bara.

Sgt Hass urged pas­toral­ists to be­gin re­port­ing thefts and he said if the de­mand was there, police would have to re­visit it.

Yande­yarra Sta­tion man­ager Ian Hayes said live­stock theft had and al­ways would be an is­sue.

Mr Hayes said just over 12 months ago he found a group of about 12 cat­tle fenced in on one part of the sta­tion, which he be­lieved were grouped ready for some­one to steal. “We don’t do that with our cat­tle,” he said. “They were there ready for a truck to come out and pick them up.

“Due to hav­ing no stock squad in WA, it’s aw­fully hard for the nor­mal police force to take ac­tion on this.

“They’ve got enough on their plate with­out run­ning out 250km and deal­ing with this.”

Mr Hayes said the sta­tion was now fit­ted with closed cir­cuit tele­vi­sion cam­eras be­cause thefts of items, in­clud­ing so­lar pan­els and pumps, were out of hand.

The Shire of Halls Creek also re­cently wrote to the State Gov­ern­ment seek­ing the re­in­state­ment of the spe­cial police unit.

Mr Fri­day said with the down­turn in min­ing, the pas­toral in­dus­try would be a “key com­po­nent” for the fu­ture, adding in­vest­ments in the in­dus­try would make live­stock theft more at­trac­tive.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Police say they have no com­plaints of live­stock theft in the Pil­bara.

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