The Mareeba Stock Squad has a new name and a broader focus.
Officer-in-charge, Detective Sergeant Mark Kerswell unveiled the changes – implemented officially earlier this month – during a recent AgForce roadshow on Cape York.
Now known as the Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural) Far Northern District, the changes are a result of a restructure in the Queensland Police Service two years ago.
Det Sgt Kerswell said the major change was the squad was now “borderless”.
“Before with regional policing we were stuck to a region,” Det Sgt Kerswell told a Laura forum. “Now we sit under Brisbane and we are borderless. There are 35 stock squads in the state and we work as one team.”
The Mareeba-based squad’s territory remains the same – Cardwell to the tip of northern Australia, and just short of Normanton. There are some 337,000 km2 to cover and 42 policing divisions.
Det Sgt Kerswell said stock and rural crime would remain the squad’s core business.
“The important change is major and organised and that’s where there are offences impacting stakeholders,” he said.
“You are our stakeholders. You know what is impacting, like drugs and online offences. They are giving us the go ahead to target those areas.”
Det Sgt Kerswell said the four-member squad had 6000 people at its disposal.
“There are a lot of things at our disposal and I see us as a conduit,” he said. “You get the information to us and we farm it out to the right people.”
Det Sgt Kerswell said the squad would be looking to continue its “good relationships with industry and government and non-government departments” and be more accessible. “We want to retain and build on that.”