Media Releases

New Livestock and Rural Crime Squad to help protect farmers’ assets

Thursday, 19 July 2018

A Liberal Nationals Government will establish a new Livestock and Rural Crime Squad to specialise in dealing with rural crime including farm and livestock theft.

A Liberal Nationals Government will work with Victoria Police to establish a dedicated Livestock and Rural Crime Squad with 20 new specialist rural crime investigators.  The allocation of 20 new specialist roles will boost dedicated rural crime police numbers by 40 per cent.

Stock theft is becoming a huge business for criminals and its hurting hard working families on the land. 

Instances of stock theft rose 40% in 2017 and between April 2017 and March 2018 there were 232 instances of ‘Burglary/Break and Enter’ and ‘Theft’ offences recorded where livestock were stolen. Just 10 of these crimes resulted in an arrest or summons.

Labor has failed to act on rural crime, including livestock theft. Warrnambool Police Inspector Paul Marshall recently described stock theft:

“It’s big business… Traditionally farmers have been left a little bit short on the service they are getting so we’re really trying to correct that and treat stock theft for what it is. It’s a serious organised crime.” 

The Livestock and Rural Crime Squad will be based throughout regional Victoria.  Victoria Police will inform the final operational structure of the specialist unit however it is intended that the roles will be located throughout regional Victoria, ensuring unit members will be working in the rural communities they will be protecting. 

These 20 new investigation positions will merge with the existing Livestock and Farm Crime Specialist Group and the 48 Agricultural Liaison Officers (AGLOs) to create the new Livestock and Rural Crime Squad.

Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:

“The skyrocketing numbers of farm and livestock thefts aren’t just statistics; they are the livelihoods of families which is why I am so determined to get tough on these crimes.    

A Liberal Nationals Government will muscle-up on farm and livestock thefts.

A Livestock and Rural Crime Squad will give the Police the resources they need to put more focus on farm and livestock thefts and protect the livelihoods of our farmers.

Daniel Andrews and his regional Labor MPs don’t seem to think farm and livestock thefts are an issue and after nearly four years they still haven’t done anything about it.

A Liberal Nationals Government will keep all Victorians safe and secure.”

Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh:

“Daniel Andrews is the Premier for Melbourne, the Liberal Nationals will govern for all of Victoria. At the moment because of Labor’s cuts to police, there are only ever a handful of arrests made for farm and livestock theft and that sends a message to criminals that they can probably get away with it. 

A Liberal Nationals Government will send a strong message to potential criminals that if they are thinking about farm and livestock theft you will get caught and you will get punished.

Victoria’s agricultural industry can’t afford another four more years of Daniel Andrews and Labor’s lack of action on farm and livestock theft.”