Country Mayors' Association (CMA) chair Jamie Chaffey said he is "very disappointed" the NSW Premier Chris Minns and Minister for Police Yasmin Catley have refused to back a parliamentary inquiry into regional crime.
"To hear the premier and the police minister not support what is the will of local government and the communities who make up regional New South Wales, is very disappointing," Mr Chaffey said.
During budget estimates on Tuesday, November 7, Ms Catley said she would continue to "go out and listen" to people in regional communities about their concerns in relation to crime, but that she would not support an inquiry into the matter.
She said the NSW force is down about 1500 police and having an inquiry would take more officers off the beat by placing them in the NSW parliament in front of an inquiry.
However, Mr Chaffey said he would not play into the minister's "political pollywaffle", and instead said the CMA is calling for the parliamentary inquiry into regional and rural crime to be held in the areas where it is occurring.
"So they can hear from people who are affected, whether they be police officers, retired police officers, community representatives, businesses," Mr Chaffey said.
The CMA chair said the final report would then provide recommendations based on the testimonials of people within the communities where the crime is occurring, and set a pathway for accurate government change.
It comes shortly after a spike in motor vehicle thefts and home break-and-enters in Gunnedah, where Mr Chaffey is also the mayor, as well as Tamworth and other regional areas led to a step-up in NSW Police efforts to combat youth-related crime.
Mr Chaffey said Gunnedah shire has since seen an increase in those offenders being brought before the judicial system, which has been reflected in a lower crime rate.
"We're very thankful for the swarm of extra resources to catch those criminals and put them before the courts," Mr Chaffey said of the force's Operation Mongoose.
"But we're concerned about the ongoing policing in our community if we don't have the resources required."
"It's also for the police who are there to know they have the support around them to be able to safely do the job they're asked to do," Mr Chaffey said.
The Country Women's Association (CWA) is the latest to jump on board the push for a regional and rural crime inquiry, with the CMA, which represents about 86 regional NSW local governments, the Police Association of NSW and NSW Farmers also in support.
CWA president Joy Beames said she was also "very disappointed" about the minister's refusal to back the inquiry, saying "they're just turning a blind eye to the challenges we're facing in rural communities".
Ms Catley is expected to attend the Crime Prevention and Community Safety Conference being held in Gunnedah from November 23 - 24, along with high-profile speaker Grace Tame, and presenters from the Rural Crime Prevention Unit, Cybersecurity NSW, Department of Communities and Justice, and Alcohol and Drug Foundation, and others.
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