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‘Posting and boasting’ in $26m spend tackling regional crime

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Tougher bail, new “posting and boasting” laws, more police operations and a focus on re-offenders are among the crime prevention initiatives being rolled out across regional NSW in a $26.2 million blitz. 

The latest package of reforms comes as data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows rural criminal activity remains higher than in metro areas. 

Changes are aimed at addressing the increased rate of offending through legislative laws, place-based responses and broader prevention initiatives. 

One of the alarming trends it’s hoped these reforms will address is “posting and boasting” – in which offenders post recordings of their offending on social media, particularly in relation to motor vehicle offending. 

This type of “performance crime” may encourage others, specifically young people, to engage in similar criminal behaviour. 

NSW Premier Chris Minns says it’s hoped a focus on early intervention and prevention programs for young people will restore community safety and wellbeing, particularly in regional areas. 

“We know there is no easy solution but the reforms we are announcing look at the big picture at a whole-of-community level, to really intervene and help prevent crime and give young people a chance at life,” he explained. 

“We will not leave regional communities behind, and we will ensure regional communities are safe and appealing places to work, live and raise a family.” 

Legislative changes will include strengthening bail laws and introducing a new offence for disseminating material advertising an offender’s involvement in serious offences. 

An amendment to the Bail Act will include a temporary additional bail test for young people aged between 14 and 18 charged with committing certain serious break and enter offences or motor vehicle theft offences while on bail for the same offences. 

teen crime
Increasing the number of police officers is one of the measures being introduced to address crime in regional NSW.

“We need to work across government – police, schools, mental health – and importantly in partnership with community leaders, Aboriginal organisations and NGOs,” Mr Minns said.

“We are already taking steps to increase the number of police officers in NSW, especially in regional areas.”

As part of the changes a bail authority such as police, magistrates and judges will need to have a high degree of confidence that the young person accused will not commit a further serious indictable offence while on bail. 

This approach is a targeted and measured change that is designed to stop specific offending behaviour by certain young people who repeatedly engage in serious break and enter and motor theft offences. 

The amendments will be subject to a 12-month sunset clause so that any future action or changes can be made with evidence to assess the efficacy of the new laws. 

The NSW Government will also introduce legislation that will make “posting and boasting” an offence in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), imposing an additional penalty of two years’ imprisonment for people who commit motor vehicle theft or break and enter offences and share material to advertise their involvement in this criminal behaviour. 

motor vehicle theft
Updated legislation will make it an offence for young people to post their crimes on social media.

It’s investing $13.4 million for a targeted response in Moree to address crime, support young people and improve community safety. 

This will act as a pilot program, and if the approach proves successful will inform actions to address similar concerns in other regional communities. 

Broader regional crime prevention initiatives include the expansion of current programs involving Police and young people at risk. 

“I’ve travelled to many regional communities since becoming Minister and have seen firsthand the amazing work our police officers do,” says Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley.  

“The NSW Police are doing everything they can to serve and protect the communities they live in.” 

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