Lack of livestock rustling hobbles PRC push
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.
Police say they have no complaints of livestock theft in the Pilbara.