Lake Macquarie police have set up a team to proactively tackle crime in the Morisset area after growing community concern about incidents on the western side of the lake - particularly involving drugs, thefts and dangerous driving.
The eight-person team was set up earlier this year and has been focusing on disrupting and preventing crime - a departure from the traditional role of general duties officers who typically respond to incidents, take reports and follow up.
Known as the Proactive Crime Team West, the task force is made up of uniformed and plain-clothed officers and is based exclusively out of Morisset.
It follows a similar initiative on the eastern side of the lake, operating out of Belmont.
Lake Macquarie Police District commander Superintendent Danny Sullivan told the Newcastle Herald the Morisset team was formed after one of his officers developed a "strong" business case detailing how it could be effectively set-up and run using existing resources.
"There's genuinely been a strong outcry from the community on the western and southwestern side of Lake Macquarie - notwithstanding we have 24-7 police stations in the area," he said.
"The whole of Lake Macquarie has quite a comprehensive intelligence system, so [the team's] taskings are intelligence-led and are fed by that intelligence team, but they also have that flexibility to work their own jobs.
"It's important for the southwestern side of Lake Macquarie to know ... their input is Crime Stoppers. If they know of any crime happening in the local area it's quite a simple task ... their information will get to this proactive crime team who are here raring to get out and make a difference."
Lake Macquarie crime manager Detective Acting Inspector Steve Benson said the charging of a man who was allegedly running a hydroponic cannabis-growing set-up and several instances where police have recovered stolen property - leading to charges and the items being returned to their owners - were among some of the successful jobs so far.
"There's been a focus on driving complaints - not only preventing but also disrupting those hoons who are out and about," he said.
"They're not singly focused on one type of crime. They're there to respond to information from our intelligence units or the community.
"It may well be in uniform, it may be proactive, it may be a high-visibility type strategy or it may be something that requires plain clothes work and a longer investigative strategy. This team is fluid, whatever might be the burgeoning issue, they can - and have - been responding."
- Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.
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