Cop tells crims: "We play to win"
“IF you want to play with us, we will play with you and we play to win.”
That was the message Coffs-Clarence Police Commander Mark Holahan delivered to the youth of the Lower Clarence when he addressed a meeting of the Coffs-Clarence Community Safety Precinct Committee in Maclean yesterday.
Commander Holahan was in Maclean with other senior police for one of a series of regular meetings with community leaders about crime, how it is being managed and crime trends.
The riot in Yamba in the early hours of Sunday morning dominated yesterday’s meeting, and Commander Holahan did not mince words.
“The message is if you want to do these things, we will smack you and we will win,” he said.
“Police are here to win and the only way to win is to lock them (offenders) up.
“We picked five people out of their beds that night.
“The youngest (of the alleged rioters) is 15 and they are looking at 15 years jail.
“Will they get that? I don’t know. Will it change their life? Probably.”
He said police were concerned about the effect of alcohol on young people.
“At this stage they (juveniles and alcohol) are not mixing well,” he said.
Community leaders who attended the meeting praised the police for their response on the night, saying they had done a great job under difficult circumstances.
Commander Holahan said he would not be drawn into the debate over calls for a 24-hour police presence in Yamba.
He said it took about an hour after police at the scene called for back-up for 20 officers to be on site and 15 arrests made.