MEMBER for Lyne Robert Oakeshott has weighed into the recent increase of violent robberies and home invasions in Port Macquarie and the Mid-North Coast.
He released a statement yesterday just a day after the last robbery occurred in the rural area of Port Macquarie on Fernbank Creek Road. His statement in part read:
Concerned that state MPs are not doing enough to address a serious increase in home invasions along the Mid-North Coast, Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott has taken up the matter with the NSW Police Commissioner.
Mr Oakeshott wrote to Mr Andrew Scipione earlier this month to express concern about the seven home invasions that have occurred in Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Taree since April this year.
“I know the NSW Police Force is doing what it can to investigate these matters, however, my concern is that as the number of home invasions grows, so too does the risk that someone will be seriously injured or killed,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“With great respect, I have suggested it may be time to consider additional strategies to reduce the growing occurrence of crime in our region.
“I’ve asked Mr Scipione to consider police numbers in the region, because a highly visible police force is an obvious deterrent to crime. “But police numbers are not the only deterrent. We need the NSW Government to invest resources in our region; to develop strategies that will reduce crime.
“There is strong criticism from the legal sector, for instance, of a lack of drug and alcohol services in our region. We need the NSW Government, which is responsible for policing and for crime strategies, to act before this matter of increased home invasions becomes any worse in our region.”
State MP Leslie Williams, hit back at the claims by Mr Oakeshott.
She says his claims that she is not doing enough to address crime in our area is simply not true.
"Firstly since the Liberals & Nationals came into Government, 15 new police officers have been appointed to our area which equates to around one new officer every six weeks. The Minister for Police, Mike Gallacher has also visited the electorate and met with police in Port Macquarie and Laurieton," Mrs Williams said.
"Secondly, I share the Member for Lyne's concerns about local crime rates, but rather than issuing a media release attacking other parliamentarians on the matter, I actually went on patrol last Friday night for six hours with local police officers in Port Macquarie to see the issues first hand.
"I can tell you that our police are working extremely hard solving crime and I am pleased to say they are getting good results," Mrs Williams said.
"In the past three months they have arrested 31 people who have committed around 50 offences involving break and enter, break enter and steal, as well as being charged with being armed with intent.
"So while we have seen an increase in offences, to the credit of our local police we have seen an increase in arrests."
FULL STORY IN FRIDAY'S PORT NEWS