A day in Umbakumba

28 January 2014
The new Operations Sergeant at Alyangula Station, Sergeant Richard Magree recently took a half-hour out of his scheduled day patrol to Umbakumba to have a chat to the residents through their Community Radio Show.
Sergeant Richard Magree on Umbakumba Community Radio Show
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Senior Constable Marcus Tilbrook
Northern Region CEPO, Groote Eylandt and the Roper Gulf Region

This is run by East Arnhem Shire’s Sport and Recreation Officer, Percy Bishop. Sergeant Magree was added to the list of 56 guests who Percy spoke to last year, including Elders of the community, Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Senator Nova Peris, Warren Snowden MP and Robert De Castella. Radio listeners found out Sergeant Magree grew up in Darwin and first came to the Eylandt as a furniture removalist to help a new school principal shift there. Now he’s back and enjoying the job immensely, with someone else doing the moving this time. He admitted to supporting the Canberra Raiders but could be satisfied that Percy - as a New Zealander - had no credibility in any come-back.

This was a small slice of a day that began with his leading a series of house searches for an outstanding offender with his partner for the day, Senior Constable Marcus Tilbrook, and Senior Constable 1/C Katie McKean and Senior Constable Paul Breen as the arrest team, with Senior ACPO Betty Herbert providing some very useful local intelligence.

After the radio show it was off to talk to Shire Services Manager, Clayton McCudden about the practicality of creating a noise abatement Community by-law that could be enforced by their Night Patrol. Loud music going late into the night is one of the factors that makes it hard for local children to get enough sleep to prepare them for the next day’s school, as well as keeping them up and about and on the street.

From there a discussion with Emmalene Ford, the Principal of the Umbakumba School, about Alyangula Police’s plan to work with all four schools on Groote Eylandt to help classes develop presentations around the theme for this year’s National Youth Week 'Our Voice. Our Impact.' This will fit in well with the School’s ‘persuasive text’ unit this term and they look forward to Police attending on the last day of school (Friday, 4 April – also the first day of National Youth Week) to judge presentations and to award prizes. Sergeant Magree and the OIC of Alyangula – Senior Sergeant Tony Deutrom – are also planning to have police present the awards at Alyangula, Angurugu and Milyakburra on that day.

The day’s patrol ended with a training session for the Umbakumba Night Patrol at the Police Post. This revised last year’s joint NAAJA/Police training at Angurugu and introduced the use of CCA s. 441 (citizen’s arrest) powers in emergency situations.

All-in-all, a productive day on the Eylandt for a scheduled patrol – some operational work, a little planning on how to reduce future problems, a bit of community engagement to let the population know what we are doing and a serving of training for the Night Patrol that does so much to help keep order for a police presence that is 75 kilometres away.