Meet the Hawkesbury’s border force…
….on duty at the southern border between Victoria and NSW with the ADF, helping stop the spread of Covid-19.
Officers from Hawkesbury Police Area Command have been manning a checkpoint at Curlwaa near Wentworth at the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers as part of Operation Border Closure. The officers rotate with colleagues from other NSW police commands.
Border checkpoint - permits are scanned by police and ADF
Chief Inspector Garry Sims, normally based at Windsor, has just returned from a stint at the border where he was Forward Commander supervising checkpoints at Buronga – just across from Mildura – and at Euston and Tooleybuc.
“Each week, we supply staff, sometimes a Sergeant and Constables other times Constables,” said CI Sims.
The police officers’ duties include checking the permits of people attempting to cross the border.
Hawkesbury police-manned checkpoint on the NSW Victoria border
“We use modern technology to scan the permit to ensure that people entering NSW are doing so lawfully in accordance with the Health Minister’s Orders.”
Police work with members of the Australian Defence Forces at each of the checkpoints.
“At my check points, I had members of the Royal Australian Air Force assisting us,” CI Sims said.
“They also work the line, checking permits as well as providing valuable logistic support. Police and ADF members use the opportunity to learn about each other’s capabilities, training and roles.”
Hawkesbury police officers work alongside ADF personnel on border protection
CI Sims said there were many advantages in the deployment, which though unusual had real tangible benefits, both for officers and the local communities.
“Our staff get to experience country policing. Locals at border towns are very supportive of the efforts of police and it is common for them to drop by to say hello, drop in food items, leave firewood and other things that make the stay on the line a bit more comfortable. The police presence in the towns also provides a much-needed injection of funds. Police are put up at local motels, get their food/meals from local suppliers, as well as supporting other local small businesses.
Border locals have welcomed Hawkesbury officers - this lady dropped by with a hot drink to say thanks
“Despite being away from family and friends, all of the police I have spoken to on deployments have enjoyed the role and responsibilities of working on Operation Border Closure and appreciate being exposed to a different policing environment,” CI Sims said.