Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has lent her support to a proposed parliamentary inquiry into crime rates in rural and regional New South Wales.
The Country Mayors Association of NSW has called for the inquiry following the release of statistics showing a disproportionate increase in criminal activity in non-metropolitan areas of the state.
“The statistics released by The Country Mayors Association of NSW are of grave concern, and certainly confirm what I’ve been hearing anecdotally from residents in towns and villages in various parts of the electorate,” Ms Cooke said.
“What these figures also confirm is that the growing incidence of rural crime is exacerbated by the unique challenges facing our local police, including limited resources, as well as the difficulties involved in covering vast geographical distances, which makes providing timely and rapid responses to incidents that much harder.
“It’s with those factors in mind that I have written to the Chair of The Country Mayors Association Mayor Jamie Chaffey in support of the inquiry proposal, which also has the backing of Shadow Police Minister Paul Toole, NSW Farmers, and the NSW Police Association.
“Our local police right across the electorate, do such an amazing job – both on the front line, and behind the scenes – in keeping our communities safe, and as always, I thank them for their dedication and service.
“But based on these recent figures, it’s clear they are being stretched to the limit, and are being forced to do more with less, and I will always fight for our fair share of resources for the 27 police stations in our Cootamundra electorate.
“The last thing any of us want is a situation where people are afraid to step out their front door; we all deserve to feel safe in our homes, and indeed, when we’re out and about in our communities, and an inquiry will provide an opportunity for the government to hear directly from stakeholders about the evolving situation on the ground, and the possible solutions going forward,” she said.