A NEW era in policing on the South Coast has started with the formation of the South Coast Police District.
The district, covering the region from Foxground in the north to Eden in the south, came into force on January 28 and will come under the command of District Commander Superintendent Steve Hegarty.
The District will be broken into four different sectors.
Inspector Ray Stynes will be officer in charge of Nowra Police Station and all the resources attached to it.
The Shoalhaven District, which takes in all the satellite stations like Kangaroo Valley, Berry, Culburra Beach, Huskisson, Sussex Inlet and Ulladulla, will be under the command of Inspector Deb O’Reilly.
Batemans Bay is under the command of Inspector Greg Flood and he will cover an area from Batemans Bay down to Moruya, while Inspector Peter Volf will command the Bega Valley sector from Narooma down to Eden.
Two District Inspectors, looking after proactive teams covering the northern [Foxground to Ulladulla] and southern sectors [Batemans Bay to Eden] will also be in place.
They will oversee units like Target Action Group [TAG], domestic violence teams and youth liaison. The former Crime Management Unit, now Crime Prevention Unit, will be an extra resource, and will allow tactical deployments.
Inspector Dave Cockram will look after the northern region and Inspector Angela Burnell the southern region.
There will be one Crime Manager for the district, Detective Inspector Kevin McNeil.
He will have control of the detective units with a more strategic approach being implemented to serious crime across the district.
Superintendent Hegarty said the district model is based around an officer in charge concept.
“It is designed for country policing rather that the PAC (Police Area Command) model in Sydney,” he said.
“We face different challenges from our colleagues in the cities. We have different geographical areas and the tyranny of distance.
“Every single police station will have an officer in charge and depending on the size of the station that person could be a senior constable through to the larger stations like Batemans Bay and Nowra that have an inspector.”
Just because we have changed to a police district doesn’t make us a different police force.South Coast Police District Commander Superintendent Steve Hegarty.
The OIC will be the face of the police station, go to community engagements, the person who liaises with the community on a full time basis.
“They will deal with all the issues that come to that area and also put solutions in place for local problems,” Supt Hegarty said.
“It’s called local solutions to local problems. They will then organise daily taskings and resources to address the problem.
“Just because we have changed to a police district doesn’t make us a different police force.”
He said police would still fight crime and arrest offenders.
“Nothing will change - you want police, you pick up the phone and call the same numbers. The same police will turn up and sort the job for you,” he said.
“Crime rates are dropping dramatically. Policing has changed. It is a different model now, the force is more agile in tasking.
“We are very strategic with our intel, very accurate with our intel and crooks are targeted. That’s why crime is coming down, no doubt.
“We have changed strategy back to proactive policing and targeting crooks more so than previously.”
He said the change over had been “seamless.”
“We have analysed crime, where offenders are been charged and for what crimes,” he said.
“People being charged still live within the area. Our role now is no different.
“This has been a simple merge.”
He said the restructure had seen some of the senior management positions, inspectors and superintendents, go but would ultimately mean an increase in staff.
Nothing will change - you want police, you pick up the phone and call the same numbers. The same police will turn up and sort the job for you.South Coast Police District Commander Superintendent Steve Hegarty
“It will allow us to put more troops on the ground and into areas when and where they are needed,” he said.
“Crime in the region is reducing and as we continue to target specific areas I would expect to continue to see those figures fall.”
He said there had been no redundancies or job losses due to the restructure.
“Those officers will remain here and assist with the consolidation of the command to a police district and over time they will apply for different positions or jobs,” he said.
“It was time for change. We have had the LAC [Local Area Command] model for 20 plus years. The police force has changed, developed and got stronger and we needed to change with that.”