A specialist high-visibility police unit, established on the South Coast has been credited with significant success.
The six-man Southern High-Visibility Police Unit is tasked with preventing, disrupting and responding to crime through its patrols of crime hotspots, roads, transport networks, neighbourhoods, concerts and other events.
Although based in the Illawarra, the unit can be deployed to jobs in any of the eight commands that make up the Southern Region including the South Coast District, along with Lake Illawarra, Monaro, Murray River, Murrumbidgee, Riverina, The Hume and Wollongong.
Southern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Joe Cassar, said the five constables and one sergeant could travel at short notice to "wherever the demand is".
They are among 100 high-visibility officers rolled out across NSW since January as part of a state-wide announcement.
"The particular focus ... was to attract a group of individuals that not only got on well together, [but] had a really good understanding of the local police districts, especially those that have got a high volume of activity in businesses and events," Comm Cassar said.
"They needed to bring to the team a great degree of enthusiam and capability. Certainly their arrest rates are high. They've got good people skills, good communication skills and they work very well and effectively as a team, as we're seeing in the results they're producing to date."
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Comm Cassar said the unit had since had a hand in dismantling drug syndicates in Wagga Wagga, Queanbeyan, Cootamundra, Young and the Illawarra. It recently worked in Mangerton, where a woman was charged with 17 drug and weapon-related crimes.
Earlier this year, the officers maintained order in bushfire-ravaged communities, and patrolled Port Kembla Harbour as part of the police COVID-19 response, making sure cruise ship crew complied with public health orders.
"These deployments are on top of the work the unit does in proactively engaging with the community and assisting with strike force activity targeting drug supply," Comm Cassar said.
"This unit has dramatically improved our ability to respond to emerging crime threats."
The storyNew Southern High-Visibility Police Unit 'getting results' first appeared on the Illawarra Mercury.