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Let us know – Inspector

Inspector Paul Huggett addressing Federation Council.

People with any police issues must report any matter to police.

“We want to know here the crime is so I can task the police appropriately,” Inspector Paul Huggett of Murray River Police District told Federation Council’s latest monthly meeting on April 19.

Federation Council agreed to a request by Murray River Police District to make quarterly visits to council meetings to update council on policing matters across the Federation Council area.

Based in Moama, Inspector Huggett is in charge of 14 stations along the Murray River which have a total of 47 staff. He reports to Commander Paul Smith in Albury who has previously addressed Federation Council.

Inspector Huggett talked about various aspects and locations of police work, and the difficulty being experienced in recruiting young police officers from Sydney to country towns, despite the many pluses of the country lifestyle.

“The sporting community is a way to get in,” Cr Gail Law said.

“Can officers come for a short term – to see if they like life here?” “We’ve tried that,” Inspector Huggett responded.

Cr Sally Hughes mentioned the benefit of a police officer “to chat with down the street”. “I had a good recent example with Karen Canns. It was really good,” she said.

Inspector Huggett fully endorsed the practice of having such an individual chat as mentioned by Cr Hughes and having group chats, Probus and Lions clubs being examples.

“It’s not just up to us,” Inspector Huggett said.

“Clubs or groups can approach us and we will attend – unless we have to attend a very serious crime. The more you get a blue shirt in the room, the better.”

Federation Council’s director development and environmental services Susan Appleyard said council’s compliance staff work closely with police and have been instrumental in controlling some situations.

Mayor Pat Bourke told Inspector Huggett it was fantastic having him at the council meeting. Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch backed up the remark, saying a recent meeting with police in Howlong was so beneficial for the community.

Federation Council’s General Manager Adrian Butler said he and the mayor enjoy regular meetings with Commander Smith and Corowa Police Sergeant Gary Lewis, as well as other officers.

“This forum requested by Murray River Police allows police to more publicly address council and involve council on matters relevant,” Mr Butler said.

“In the past there were committees of police and local council representatives who met quarterly, however that model is no longer in place and this method of presenting to council is considered very positive.

“Presenting to open council is considered another positive engagement tool for both NSW Police Murray District and Federation Council.”