Northern NSW’s new investigative team will kick-off with coordinated strategies to disrupt drug supply and target gun crime for a safer community.
The Northern Region Enforcement Squad (RES), which will be fully-operational next month, is collaborating with the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad on targeted investigations and operations to reduce the impact of drug and gun crime in the region.
Consisting of one sergeant and six constables, the Northern RES will conduct investigations into drug supply, firearms offences, and property crime, as well as any criminal syndicates operating in the area.
Northern Region Operations Tactician, Detective Chief Inspector David Waddell, said Northern RES’ primary focus will be supporting Police Districts by targeting large-scale, mid-level, and serial crimes impacting their communities.
“We have long seen the success of the RES-model in the metropolitan areas, and I believe this team is not only an asset for Northern Region police, but also a win for our community,” Det Chief Insp Waddell said.
“The squad will act as a conduit between State Crime Command, particularly the Drug and Firearms Squad, and the Police Districts, focusing on having the highest impact on the crime types which most effect the everyday lives of residents and businesses.
“There will also be an emphasis on assisting Rural Crime Investigators, where groups or syndicates are involved in crime that impact on the function of the pastoral, agricultural, and aquaculture industries.
“We will continue to put the community we serve first, and RES is an addition resource that will help provide frontline police more time to focus on other crimes,” Det Chief Insp Waddell said.
Following the conclusion of the Drug and Firearms Squad’s annual Cannabis Eradication Program (CEP), which targets outdoor cultivation of cannabis, Northern RES will lead follow-up investigations into cannabis cultivation and supply, illicit drug supply, and associated criminal activities in Northern NSW.
Drug and Firearms Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Peter McErlain, said the investigation doesn’t just end at the seizure of $10 million worth of plants.
“Each year, the CEP team gather information and various intelligence about the supply of cannabis and other illicit drugs for further investigation, which will be shared with Northern RES,” Det Supt McErlain said.
“The obvious priority is to target the supply chain and associated criminal enterprises, or any activity that threatens the safety of the community.
“We have seen the devastating impact ‘ice’ has had on remote and rural communities, and we will be working closely with all RES’ and local police on targeted activities to reduce availability across the state.
“This includes the importation of ice and its precursors, manufacture in clandestine laboratories, and the supply of this poison at any level,” Det Supt McErlain said.
The Northern RES will be based at the Coffs-Clarence Police District, with the capacity to work throughout major hubs and smaller towns across Northern NSW.
It is one of three regional squads announced as part of the re-engineering process, reinforcing NSW Police Force’s commitment to providing specialist resources to regional areas.
The Western RES has two units based at Dubbo and Tamworth, and the Southern RES is based at Wagga Wagga.
Police are urging anyone with information in relation criminal activity impacting on their community to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Source: NSW Police