Saturday, April 20, 2024

SA partners with Crime Stoppers for environmental crime crackdown

The South Australian Government is set to partner with Crime Stoppers SA to crack down on environmental crime including targeted operations, information sharing and an anonymous tip-off portal.

The Department for Environment and Water, which manages the state’s national parks and wildlife through National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), has signed a two-year trial partnership with Crime Stoppers SA to strengthen biodiversity protection.

The collaboration will enable Crime Stoppers to increase the information and intelligence provided to DEW and the NPWS.

“The NPWS welcomes this Crime Stoppers SA partnership, which will provide the public with greater opportunities to report environmental crime,” said NPWS Director, Conservation and Wildlife, Lisien Loan.

“It will further ensure adequate protections and compliance are in place to protect our unique and much-loved biodiversity.”

Crime Stoppers has a worldwide reputation for protecting its sources of information, while helping law enforcement agencies to prevent offences and identify criminals.

The DEW and Crime Stoppers SA partnership will provide:

  • An online portal to report environmental crimes or information anonymously.
  • Targeted operations, including illegal wildlife trade, native vegetation clearances and illegal fishing in marine parks.
  • Intelligence gathering to better target proactive compliance efforts.

The partnership has been a success in Western Australia, where Crime Stoppers WA has worked with the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

It has led to a significant increase in reporting of environmental offences through its secure online portal.

“Crime Stoppers SA is keen to build on our support of government agencies and we are excited at this opportunity to partner with the Department for Environment and Water,” said Crime Stoppers SA Chief Executive, Nigel Smart.

“As a charity that has been trusted by South Australians for more than 25 years, we hope our reputation for protecting people’s identity encourages them to anonymously share information about environmental crime so we can help authorities to identify those responsible.”

Crime Stoppers SA is partly funded by the South Australian Government and supported by SA Police, who are the main beneficiaries of information provided by the public.

In 2022, Crime Stoppers SA received nearly 14,000 hotline calls and almost 5,000 online tips, resulting in 347 apprehensions by police and 755 charges laid for various crimes.

“This partnership is a significant step towards making environmental criminals more accountable,” said SA Deputy Premier, Susan Close.

“Crime Stoppers SA has a fantastic reputation for helping solving crimes by allowing the public to provide information anonymously.

“The State Government is already undertaking a significant review to strengthen animal welfare and environmental laws and this partnership will help identify and prosecute more offenders.”

All information collected by Crime Stoppers is stored securely and relevant DEW staff would have limited access.

Anyone who wishes to share a tip about an environmental crime can do so anonymously by visiting crimestopperssa.com.au.

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