Kids at risk

Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion calls for spe­cial­ist po­lice

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

A se­vere lack of po­lice re­sources is leav­ing the re­gion’s chil­dren at risk, ac­cord­ing to Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion of NSW ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber Roger Camp­ton.

Mr Camp­ton said known child sex of­fend­ers are go­ing un­mon­i­tored for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time, and even be­ing lost from the sys­tem en­tirely.

He said while he can­not re­veal spe­cific de­tails re­lat­ing to the Mur­ray River Po­lice Dis­trict due to the sen­si­tiv­ity of the crime, it was af­fect­ing the du­ties of po­lice sta­tioned lo­cally.

The Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion of NSW is call­ing for an ur­gent in­crease in the num­ber of po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate child sex of­fences and ad­di­tional po­lice to mon­i­tor peo­ple on the child pro­tec­tion reg­is­ter – the list of con­victed child sex of­fend­ers liv­ing in our com­mu­ni­ties.

Mr Camp­ton said in or­der to en­sure the safety of our chil­dren, the min­i­mum stan­dard should be one po­lice of­fi­cer ded­i­cated to mon­i­tor­ing ev­ery 30 of­fend­ers.

He said at the mo­ment, re­spon­si­bil­ity to mon­i­tor those on the child pro­tec­tion reg­is­ter falls to lo­cal po­lice, who are al­ready stretched to ca­pac­ity.

It is un­der­taken on a part-time, ad-hoc ba­sis while con­duct­ing other se­ri­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

‘‘In the re­gion, we need an ad­di­tional 20 po­lice in our lo­cal com­mands to en­sure we can mon­i­tor those on the Child Pro­tec­tion Reg­is­ter prop­erly,’’ Mr Camp­ton said.

‘‘We know there are more than 4000 of­fend­ers on the Child Pro­tec­tion Reg­is­ter statewide, and around 595 in our South­ern re­gion, but only a frac­tion of those are mon­i­tored reg­u­larly due to the fact that we sim­ply don’t have enough po­lice to do the job.

‘‘We know we need a ra­tio of one ded­i­cated full-time of­fi­cer to ev­ery 30 of­fend­ers to be able to proac­tively man­age pae­dophiles on the list.

‘‘The leg­is­la­tion in this area is strong. Po­lice have the pow­ers to ac­tively mon­i­tor and stop these of­fend­ers tar­get­ing our chil­dren, but we just don’t have the re­sources to do it prop­erly.

‘‘The child pro­tec­tion reg­is­ter is our way of keep­ing an eye on these grubs, to pre­vent re­of­fend­ing, and to pro­tect our kids.

‘‘The of­fi­cers who do this work day in and day out are stretched to ca­pac­ity, of­ten with one or two of­fi­cers man­ag­ing in ex­cess of 100 con­victed of­fend­ers.’’

The Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion of NSW says we also ur­gently need more de­tec­tives in the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad which re­sponds to of­fences com­mit­ted upon our chil­dren.

‘‘At present, de­tec­tives in these squads are stretched be­yond ca­pac­ity, deal­ing with the 9527 re­ports that re­quire 4583 in­ves­ti­ga­tions ev­ery year,’’ Mr Camp­ton said.

These lat­est de­mands from the Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion come just weeks af­ter it called on more po­lice to tar­get the ice epi­demic across the state, and par­tic­u­larly in the Mur­ray River Po­lice Dis­trict.

Mr Camp­ton said the as­so­ci­a­tion still has had no re­sponse to this re­quest.

‘‘At this stage there has ben no progress on staffing num­bers, but the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner is do­ing a re­view,’’ Mr Camp­ton said.

‘‘The Com­mis­sioner would then need to go to the gov­ern­ment, but what we’re try­ing to say is that we need some­thing to change now.’’

Ac­cord­ing to data col­lected from the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy at Tocumwal, the river height was at 2.77m on Oc­to­ber 6.

At the time of go­ing to print yes­ter­day the river level had risen to 2.83m.

Bil­l­abong Creek was at 0.27m on Oc­to­ber 6 and de­spite a few dips, the height was still 0.27m at the time of go­ing to print.

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