ROAD trauma and drug crime will be two areas under the watchful eye of Orange’s police commander as he steps into the role.
Superintendent Chris Taylor has been in preparations with Canobolas Local Area Command ahead of its merger with Lachlan Local Area Command for the past three months, with the combined Central West Police District officially taking effect on Sunday.
Its 210 staff will serve 45,000 square kilometres with a population of 85,000.
Supt Taylor said targeting drug use and drug supply was a difficult task, but targeting road trauma also yielded results in cutting drug crime.
“Last week a car was caught speeding on the Newell Highway coming towards Alectown, our Highway Patrol engaged that vehicle, there was a pursuit, we eventually located the vehicle and its two occupants and we located two illegal firearms and about four different sorts of drugs were in that vehicle,” he said.
“So by targeting road trauma, we’re also helping to target the supply of drugs in our smaller communities because those drugs were meant for distribution.
“All of the drugs in NSW have got to be conveyed somehow and that’s by road.”
He was also concerned about the crimes causing fear among the general public, which were often connected to drug crime.
“Having their house broken into, having something stole out of their front yard, having their car stolen,” he said.
Supt Taylor said a rural crime unit had been formed with four detectives working out of Parkes, led by Sergeant Andy McLean, targeting the area in the aftermath of the Bradshaw report.
“They will investigate rural crime and will also be available to assist local police,” he said.
Supt Taylor said remaining on the front foot with domestic violence remained a priority, with four dedicated officers and apprehended violence order (AVO) compliance checks, where police can visit offenders.
“It shows the offender that now they’ve been to court, we’re not going to sit back and hope that nothing happens, we’re going to continually visit them, and it also shows our continued support for the victims,” he said.
It may be a brave new world for policing, but the commander said the community would notice no difference on the ground, with all stations maintaining existing hours.
“There won’t be less – police will walk out the same door into the same car,” he said.
“In fact from the re-engineering project, we’ve been given three extra positions for general duties.”
The positions make up for the loss of three inspectors’ positions – the two commands previously had nine roles, which have been cut to six, however only one position was dissolved.
The inspector at Cowra moved to the Chifley Police District with the rest of his station and one position was vacant and will remain unfilled, while the former Parkes crime manager will now work in a regional capacity.
Supt Taylor joined the NSW Police Force at 16 and has served for 49 years, excluding a brief period outside the force in the early 2000s, across Liverpool, Wollongong, Walgett and finally Lachlan where he was the commander for five years.
“I just love it, that’s all I’ve known,” he said.
“The vast majority of the community appreciate what we do and I like locking up crooks – these days I don’t lock so many up myself but there’s a lot of good police around who do.”