the Breeze

MACLEAY POLICE WORK WITH ISLAND REAL ESTATE AGENTS ON SAFETY INITIATIVE

• Sgt Ben Suckling and Senior Constable John Levi with Cr Mark Edwards at the Macleay Island Police Station.

Macleay Island Police are working with the island real estate businesses to make the island a much safer place to live.

The partnership with the real estates is the initiative of Macleay Police Officers Sergeant Ben Suckling and Senior Constable John Levi.

"Many of the people who come to these islands are attracted here by low rents," says Sgt Ben Suckling.

"Some get involved with drugs and other areas of crime, as well as domestic violence.

"We have gone to island estate agents and have explained to them our predicament.

Sgt Suckling says their initiative is having some fruitful results. However, there is still some way to go.

"Domestic violence is still an issue that we are continuing to address".

He said alcohol and drugs often fuel many of the issues they are forced to confront on a daily basis.

And confronting them they are.

In the past 12 months, the two Macleay Island policemen have carried out 200 arrests (four a week) and have attended more than 100 domestic violence incidents.

This is a substantial amount more than that previously recorded on the island over a two and three year period.

Sgt Suckling said whilst the initiative with the real estate agents and some owners was positive, private rentals on the island were 'another matter'.

"The people we have charged and have moved off the island are not necessarily returning to the island, based on certain conditions of their arrest.

"John and I take a zero tolerance policy - a comment I first made when we first started here.

"This is a stance John and I will not change as we enjoy living and working on the island and collaborating with the residents to improve the safety and enjoyment for all.

"Persons who choose to commit crime will be prosecuted and this is something John and I are keen to continue," Sergeant Suckling said.

"We are extremely pleased with the response from island residents and enjoy working with everyone here to make the island a much safer community.

"With the continued assistance of the real estate agencies, we believe we are achieving this and have made a large impact since we started our work on the island.

The sergeant urged island residents: "No matter how small, it is vital to report every illegal activity to Crime Stoppers. All reports to this police function are anonymous."

The Macleay Police received a visit from Cr Mark Edwards recently when he offered council assistance on 'several levels' to assist the role of police on Macleay Island.

"It is about everyone working together to make the islands a much safer community," Cr Edwards said.

He urged that the Macleay Island police initiative be adopted on 'all the Bay Islands'.

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