Cross-border policing

Teamwork: Murray River Police District Inspector Paul Huggett and Campaspe police Inspector Dave Bowler work together all year round to ensure community safety. Photo by Steve Huntley

Throughout the Southern 80 weekend and beyond, police from Moama and Echuca are constantly working together to ensure public safety.

Although some may have the misconception that what happens in one border town, stays in that border town, local police say the reality couldn’t be more different.

Inspector Paul Huggett of the Murray River Police District explained the importance of cross-border policing in the twin towns.

“Our victims are their victims and their criminals are our criminals,” he said.

“At the end of the day, when an individual calls for the police, they just want the police. People don't care about whether a police officer, wearing a light blue shirt or a navy shirt, knocks on the door — they just want help.

“That’s what we are here to provide, across both towns.”

Insp Huggett and Campaspe police Inspector Dave Bowler said that if something was happening in Echuca then it would often also be occurring in Moama.

Although their contact is not confined to a set time every week, Insp Bowler and Insp Huggett communicate with each other as needed and when operational situations dictate.

Uniformed police officers from both towns are also in regular contact and have complete access to each other’s police stations and their intelligence bulletins.

Police can also listen to both town’s radio channels when in a police vehicle.

“We are constantly listening in so that we can monitor communications on both sides of the river,” Insp Bowler said.

In terms of physically offering assistance, Echuca and Moama police will often cross the border to help one another out.

“If there is a need to arrest on these occasions, we can hold the offender until Vic Pol are able to come down and make an arrest, and they can do the same for us,” Insp Huggett said.

This weekend, being Southern 80 weekend, will involve a consolidated effort from both police stations.

Both Insp Huggett and Insp Bowler will be at each other’s Southern 80 briefings on Friday morning (May 13).

Insp Bowler said “with operations like the Southern 80, we couldn't police them individually. It's a collective effort because the only way we'd be able to achieve a safe and secure event is together.”

“It'll be a policing operation. It's not a Vic Pol or a NSW police operation. It's a policing operation,” Insp Huggett said.

Both inspectors have advised people to take care during the inclement weather over the Southern 80 weekend.

“People who are going into the bush tracks and have decided to camp, need to be self-sufficient,” Insp Bowler said.

“This means that campers will need to take responsibility for their actions and egress into the bush land.

“Ensure that you have appropriate recovery gear, should you become bogged, because we won't be attending.”

“You will need to ring a tow truck in those situations,” Insp Huggett said.

“Over the Easter weekend, we had about six calls a day from people who were bogged in the bush. That is not something that we will be responding to this weekend.”