Sunday, April 21, 2024

A Christmas message from our local police force

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Advice for home security and safety on roads over the festive season

Supt Mark Grieve, Tennant & District Times

From a policing perspective, the Barkly region has much to be proud of as we look to close out 2022.

We’re leading the Territory in the reduction of crime with Tennant Creek specifically, having the following year to date statistics:

  • Domestic related assaults are down by 25%
  • Alcohol-related assaults broadly are down by 32%
  • Stealing is down by 10 %
  • Property damage down by 11%
  • Break-ins down by 11%

It’s important to realise however that the above figures need to be better. Whilst I can highlight as many positive statistics as I wish, that doesn’t give the past, present and future victims of crime any solace.

Notwithstanding the effects that a physical injury has upon a victim, the lasting mental effects are many, such as; fear, anxiety, anger, shame, monetary loss, vulnerability and a feeling of loss of control.

This is why there is always more work to be done to reduce these unwanted affects upon our community whether it be individuals, businesses and their owners.

It is the driving force behind why your local officers choose to live and work within the Tennant Creek and the Barkly region. Break-ins and property damage remain a concern for the region, more so within Tennant Creek.

Whilst your local police are out there 24/7 not only responding to these offences and a myriad of other matters, we focus equally on trying to stop them from occurring in the first place.

When it comes to reducing crime, it’s important to realise that whilst police play a significant role, ongoing education and engagement is key.

Let’s be honest and blunt, the majority of property crimes committed are by youth who are roaming free at all hours of the night due to having no parental guidance or a solid family unit around them.

There are a number of reasons why this is the case (of which I won’t delve into here) however, to try and change this situation, your police work in conjunction with other agencies and organisations (both government and non-government) by working hard in the background to target these contributing or causal factors and curb the drivers of this behaviour.

As agencies or organisations, we do this by engaging families to take ownership of their family members actions and to motivate them to take pride in their town and community but also to provide the proper care and parental oversight required.

It’s these important background components that will (hopefully) truly assist in driving change and assist your local police to keep the people of the Barkly safe, improve social amenity and reduce economic hardship.

It is important for me to touch on the festive season and some key priorities for police. Over this Christmas period, your local police will out and about targeting vehicle/traffic movement.

We want everyone to be safe on our roads and we want you to make it home to your family and friends so you can enjoy all that Christmas brings.

Too often this is not the case and it can be attributed to some key factors, so please:

  • Don’t speed
  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Do wear seatbelts
  • Don’t overload your cars
  • Don’t drive whilst fatigued
  • Don’t drive whilst distracted (mobile phones)

With a portion of residents leaving town, it’s important that you ensure your house/property is as secure as possible.

We know that empty houses are a prime target for break-ins, but importantly there a few key household items that offenders are looking for, so a few things to take into consideration to hopefully reduce offender interest in your property:

  • Don’t leave alcohol behind (give it to a friend to look after).
  • Try and reduce the amount of food you have in the house prior to leaving, especially junk food.
  • Lock away or keep more valuable items out of line sight , i.e. not within view of a window.
  • Consider leaving a light on (dependent on how long you will be away) or an internal light on a timer.
  • Advise your neighbours / friends of your absence.
  • Tidy up your yard prior to leaving.
  • Security lights on a timer.
  • If your car/s is remaining at home , take your keys on holiday with you and remove valuables from within.

On a personal note, having lived and worked in Tennant Creek for four years as a constable in the mid 2000s, it’s been quite surreal coming back as the Superintendent and re-connecting with the community and friends that myself and my family made way back then.

I consider myself fortunate to have such a dedicated, professional and driven team of not only police members but administrative and support staff.

Maybe most importantly, is the recognition of our families who in many cases have made sacrifices to follow their police spouse, partner, mum or dad around the NT whilst having to put up with the shift work and overtime requirements, missed birthdays and Christmas and many other special days along the way.

Policing can be a tough gig and whilst we may not always get it right (yes, we are human) our actions are always in pursuit of serving and protecting the community that we live in and I couldn’t be prouder of the guys and gals that make up the Tennant Creek and Barkly Division of the NT Police Force.

It’s this sediment that makes you truly reflect when incidents occur such as this week’s shooting deaths of two police officers in Queensland.

It may be cliché – but we are a uniform family and the gravity of such incidents hit home and re-enforce the dangers that police can and do face on a daily basis.

On behalf of the team here and I would suggest the community, our deepest condolences go out to the families, friends and colleagues of Constable Matthew Arnold and Constable Rachel McCrow along with the member of the public who also tragically and unnecessarily died on Monday 12 December 2022.

As the year comes to an end, from your local police, please have a very safe and Merry Christmas along with a happy New Year and thank you to everyone for being the community you are.

Tennant & District Times 16 December 2022

This article appeared in Tennant & District Times, 16 December 2022.

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