News

PCYC pulls out of Valley after threats

TWO PCYC officers assigned to South Grafton have been removed for safety reasons. They had been brought in from Coffs Harbour to help with youth crime issues plaguing the region.

At a Police and Aboriginal Consultative Committee (PACC) meeting on Thursday, police confirmed the PCYC had temporarily withdrawn from the Clarence Valley following an incident last month in which fence palings and other items were allegedly used against police.

The violent behaviour was in response to the arrest of two teenagers in South Grafton, who were wanted by police for allegedly breaching bail.

Capsicum spray was deployed by police on a number of people and five arrests were made, including the arrests of the two wanted teenagers.

Coffs/Clarence Police Inspector Tony Milner said the deterioration of the situation meant some of the youths the PCYC officers had been working with could no longer be case-managed.

"As a result of some violence and threats aimed at PCYC, they will no longer be involved in the short term and will be redeployed when deemed suitable," Insp Milner said.

"We are happy to try again when the situation settles and it's the right time to re-engage with the community."

Until then all issues in Grafton and South Grafton will be dealt with by on-duty police.

Thursday's PACC meeting at the Grafton Ngerrie Aboriginal Land Council provided an open forum for the Aboriginal community to discuss possible solutions to the ongoing crime spikes with Coffs/Clarence police officers.

It is the second to be held in South Grafton this year.

Land Council CEO Brett Tibbett said face-to-face meetings among the community were an important part of working towards a solution, but more government input would help.

During the meeting, committee members voiced disappointment that representatives from the NSW Department of Community Services and the Department of Housing did not attend.

"We have always been a strong community in the past but in the past three or four years we have taken some hits, and some damage," Mr Tibbett said.

"It's coming full circle now and the community is starting to take charge again, but we just need the support of the authorities.

"Extra engagement from local police would be helpful."

Insp Milner said he encouraged committee members who were at the meeting to have faith in the police and not take matters in their own hands.

In relation to last month's violent incident, new witnesses are encouraged to come forward and make a statement.

"There are still ongoing issues that are actively being investigated," he said.

Phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if you have any information.

Topics:  editors picks, nsw police, pcyc, police citizens youth club, south grafton



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