Stakeholders answer to the public in crime inquiry held in Nambucca Heads

Andrew Davis from the YOUth Speak Project, Paul Ireland, ShoreTrack’s Jill Ashley, Bellingen Shire councillor Ellie Tree, Member for Oxley Michael Kemp, Rebecca Stanmore and her son Lachlan, Nambucca Valley Police Chief Inspector Darren Jameson and Police Chief Vince Nicholls at the Crime Summit at Nambucca Heads RSL last Wednesday evening.

MEMBER for Oxley Michael Kemp and community member Rebecca Stanmore held a summit to address recent victims of crime in the community at Nambucca Heads RSL last Wednesday evening.

The meeting was attended by Nambucca Deputy Mayor John Wilson, Police Chiefs Darren Jameson and Vince Nicholls from the Nambucca and Kempsey branches of NSW Police, members of youth program ShoreTrack, the YOUth Speak project and approximately 35 members of the public.

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Crime rates in general for the Nambucca Valley area have fallen over the past two years according to Chief Inspector Jameson, who has held the leading role in policing in the Nambucca Valley for this time-period.

“I just want to share some figures, and these come directly from BOCSAR (Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research),” he said.

Assaults are down seven percent, sexual assaults are down eleven percent, break and enter of dwellings are down 48 percent, and stolen cars and break-ins are down 35 percent in the Nambucca Valley over the past two years,” said Inspector Jameson.

Oxley’s state representative in NSW Parliament, Michael Kemp, spoke of the importance of residents feeling safe in their community.

“Even if we are seeing the numbers drop, maybe that’s because we’re not reporting and maybe that’s because [the police] are doing a great job, but we also want to recognise that it’s very important that the community feels safe,” Mr Kemp told the room, pledging to take whatever came out of the evening directly to Parliament.

He told the room that since coming to office in 2023, he has had many communications from people in his electorate who have been impacted by crime and its effects.

Currently the NSW National Party are asking for a Parliamentary Inquiry into regional crime with all state members sending letters to Premier Minns in March of this year.

The Nationals would like to see outcomes of the inquiry used to influence the Bail and Crimes Amendment Bill 2024, which they believe does not go far enough towards preventing young people from reoffending when already on bail for a previous offence.

This Bill (Bail and Crimes Amendment Bill 2024) would also create a new ‘Performance Crime Offence’, defined as “disseminating material to advertise the involvement by persons in specified offences”.

This could be used to prosecute criminals who use social media to boast about their or other people’s criminal exploits.

Joint organiser Rebecca Stanmore, who was the recent victim of a home invasion which led to the theft of her car, disputes the statistics provided by the police on the night.

“It doesn’t feel like that at all,” she said.

“Just last night another friend had her car broken into and I know of someone else who just recently had her car stolen too,” she told NOTA.

“Maybe people aren’t bothering to report to the police because they know they will get no help,” she suggested.

Others at the meeting told of their frustrations in getting police out to crime scenes and of going to Nambucca Valley’s police station for help, only to find it unmanned through the night.

Police responded that there is an emergency button at the station which sends an alert through to the much-larger Kempsey Station where officers are manning the telephones.

Other forum participants, such as councillor Ellie Tree of Bellingen Shire, Andrew Davis of the YOUth speak project, and Paul and Jill from ShoreTrack also spoke on what they are offering towards a solution to the problems of crime in the Valley.

Currently the NSW Nationals are asking the public to contribute stories about actual experiences with regional crime through an on-line submission.



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