New top cop hits the streets of the Valley


AS A policeman based in Sydney for nearly 30 years, Chief Inspector Darren Spooner has experienced a thing or two.

And now he has brought his experience to Grafton and the Clarence Valley as the new commander of the Grafton sector of the Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command.

Chief Insp Spooner said the position at Grafton was one he coveted.

"I certainly like the Valley ? I've been coming here for many years," he said. "I like the lifestyle, it's quieter than Sydney and it's a good place to raise kids."

Chief Insp Spooner, who began in Grafton three weeks ago, said he was impressed with what he had seen so far.

"It's a good town with good people as far as I can see," he said.

"I'm impressed with the standard of police work I've seen, particularly the recent arrests regarding the break-ins at Junction Hill."

Chief Insp Spooner said while there were problems to be dealt with, he didn't believe they were worse than elsewhere.

"I suppose it's no different to any other country town or any other place in Australia for that matter," he said.

"It has some crime problems but certainly no more than anywhere else and in fact crime in the general sense is quite low."

Chief Insp Spooner admitted antisocial behaviour was a problem in the town and throughout the Valley, but there were ways to address it.

"In terms of what I've seen in relation to juvenile matters, really the police is the last stop in the link when dealing with these matters," he said.

"I don't think there aren't things to do (sport and activities), but whether or not it's the things these particular individuals want to do (is the issue)."

Chief Inspector Spooner, who was a member of the Tactical Response Group for six years and was also based at Sydney Central police station, said he was happy with the number of police at his disposal.

"There's four new probationary officers for the area so there's going to be an increased commitment to putting those police on at the right time, such as Friday and Saturday nights, both here and the Lower River," he said.

"The community should know they've got a good bunch of police here who are highly experienced when you compare them to outer Sydney."

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