A public push for bail law reform in Wagga follows the re-arrest of a teen this week – a frustration shared by local police officers and their chief.
At a press conference on Thursday, police commissioner Andrew Scipione said an emerging pattern of bail-granted youths re-offending was a difficult and frustrating issue.
The chief of police was attending the Wagga station as part of a state-wide “thank you” tour before his coming retirement.
His response follows the second arrest of a 15-year-old boy after he was granted bail for break and enter charges this week. Less than 24-hours later, he was captured on CCTV footage, allegedly repeating his offence.
The commissioner said it was a problem he expected to hear about as soon as he entered the Wagga station but added at the end of the day, it was the courts that made the decision.
“By and large, police administer legislation pretty well,” Commissioner Scipione said. “When police make the call that a person needs to be put before a court, it becomes a court issue.”
Commissioner Scipione said the Bail Act allowed police to determine – at the time of arrest – if someone should be granted bail. He said on the whole, courts supported police decisions.
“But sometimes bail may be issued,” Commissioner Scipione said. “We have a right of appeal but it is a long and convoluted process.”
The police chief said his main purpose for the visit was to thank his officers for the tremendous work they did, keeping the city safe.
“Policing is never simple,” he said. “It’s a risky profession.”
He said the community should be proud of the work police officers had achieved in recent weeks. He said from his experience and his knowledge as a commander, they did an outstanding job.
During his visit, Commissioner Scipione also addressed the nation-wide ice epidemic, the rise of cyber crime and the potential for additional officers in Wagga.
“Organisationally, we will continue to allocate staff where they are needed,” he said. “Wagga is one area we watch constantly.”