What do poisoned water supplies, rogue buffalo and anti-social behaviour have in common?
The answer is they have all affected community safety in the remote community of Manyallaluk, population 70 located 35km north of Maranboy.
by Constable Robert Cartmill
Community Engagement Police Officer
Maranboy Police have been actively supporting the local Community Safety Committee (CSC) and the results have been impressive. The community identified in its Community Safety Action Plan (CSAP) the issues of alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour, the threat posed to residents, particularly children, by rogue buffalo wandering through the community day and night and the concern that poisoning of the communities water supply by toxic and invasive neem trees could occur.
The committee, chaired by Maranboy Police R/SGT Charles Drury and S/C Jamie Lauder and comprising senior community elders Alison Andrews, Daisy-Bell Williri, Andrew Hood and Samuel Rankin (to name a few) and community residents worked through the issues and agreed on a range of measures to fix the problems.
Local police, working with their colleagues in Katherine and Mataranka, adopted a number of strategies that significantly slowed the flow of alcohol into Manyallaluk.
The community, working with indigenous Jawowyn Rangers and Roper Gulf Shire Council, trapped, removed and sold the rogue buffalo; and the neem trees have now been largely removed.
At the most recent CSC on the 27th January 2015 many community elders and residents expressed their happiness at the outcomes and stated that their children were safer and all community members were experiencing the benefits of peace and quiet at night, children getting to school after a good sleep and less noise and disruption to their lives.
Whilst many of us working in urban centres don’t consider wandering buffalo, cheeky crocodiles, poisoned bores and the myriad of other very real community safety issues that exist throughout NT, bush coppers face these issues every day.
Manyallaluk is a success story due to the efforts of the community in taking ownership of and responsibility for solving their own problems.
The relationship between the local residents and police is very positive and they are actively seeking more involvement with Police in the delivery of more crime prevention and cyber-safety education.