POLICE say rates of livestock, machinery and firearm theft are on the rise as more farmers become confident reporting incidents.
Police and representatives from peak industry bodies and the Department of Primary Industries attended the first day of the second Livestock and Farm Crime Specialist Group state conference in Bendigo yesterday.
The two-day conference discusses strategies to deal with farm-related crime.
Detective Sergeant Mick Logan, one of two agricultural liaison officers for the Bendigo region, said the task force was producing positive results.
“One thing we’re mindful of is that a lot of the farmers didn’t have the confidence to come forward before,” he said. “We’re very happy to be getting out among the farmers and... letting them know what we can do for them.”
Detective Sergeant Logan said it was important for farmers to report any thefts to police straight away, to ensure evidence was preserved.
Superintendent Craig Gillard, the head of practice for the Livestock and Farm Crime Specialist Group, said he expected rates of reported farm theft to increase for the next two years.
“As the people in the rural community become more confident in our approach to dealing with this issue, our reporting rate will increase and we’re aware of that.”