While NSW police have been encouraged by a steady decline in domestic violence offences in regional NSW, sadly, the same cannot be said for the Nambucca.
The quarterly data released last week by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) shows domestic violence offences have dropped by over 20 per cent in some local government areas in the 24 months to June 2017.
But Nambucca has almost 50 per cent more cases of domestic violence-related assault per capita when compared to the State average.
“Statistically, we’ve remained stable in terms of domestic violence-related assaults since 2012,” the Local Area Command’s Detective Inspector Guy Flaherty said.
But he says there has been a 15 per cent increase in offenders breaching apprehended domestic violence orders.
“Domestic violence still occupies 60 per cent of the workload of Nambucca Valley police,” Detective Inspector Flaherty said.
“In a 12-month period we’ve had in excess of 520 domestic violence events.”
Some of those were just arguments where no offence occurred, however there were 130 Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO) applied for in that time, and 85 breaches of AVO conditions identified.
“We’ve also had a 36 per cent increase in harassing and intimidating behaviour, which includes telecommunications offences and threatening social media posts, and we’ve been taking action in relation to those and making more arrests,” Detective Inspector Flaherty said.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM said proactive and whole-of-government initiatives have changed the way offenders and communities respond to domestic violence.
“NSW Police have been extremely proactive in targeting offenders of domestic violence and that approach is seeing a reduction in offence rates,” Commissioner Fuller said.
The Valley police are currently carrying out Domestic Violence Order (DVO) compliance checks and risk-assessing repeat victims.
They’re also focussing on repeat offenders, especially if they have had multiple victims.
In August, eight repeat offenders were targeted.
“It has been shown that the majority of murders and serious assaults stem from domestic violence.”
Statewide, most major crime categories have remained stable or continue to trend downward with three major offence categories recording significant falls, dropping to their lowest levels in 15 years.
In NSW, break and enter offences are down 4.9 per cent.
The Valley greatly exceeds this outcome with a 55 per cent reduction in break and enters over the past two years.
“This has been a direct result of targeting property offenders on bail, and the use of DNA and fingerprinting in forensic examinations,” Detective Inspector Flaherty said.
“Having said that I want to warn people that ‘steal from dwelling’ offences increase over summer and ask residents to make sure to lock windows and screen doors and not leave anything outside.”
Across the State, only one of the 17 major categories, steal from retail store, has shown an increase, up 5.4 per cent, which is possibly the result of increased reporting of incidents and prosecutions.
In Nambucca, theft from retail businesses is well below the State average.
“While the results are heartening, there is still more work to be done to build a more efficient structure for the future of policing in NSW,” Commissioner Fuller said.
According to BOCSAR, possession of cocaine has trended up by 33.7 per cent statewide, while most other drug offences have trended down or remained stable.
Police in the Nambucca have been ramping up bail compliance checks in relation to drug and property-related matters, resulting in a 10 per cent increase in identifying breach of bail offences.
In line with the state-wide trend, crime is either stable or declining across regional NSW apart from a few exceptions.
“Police officers across the State work diligently every day to put the communities they serve first and I am pleased to see these results are continuing to reflect their hard work,” Commissioner Fuller said.