What is BushWatch?
BushWatch is a crime-prevention initiative that encourages users of the bush or recreational areas to report unusual, suspicious or criminal activity and vandalism to the police. We need you to be the eyes and the ears of the bush and we need you to report any crime you see in the bush just like you would at home. Our bush and forests are for everyone to use, so any damage or improper use can directly affect those who live, work and relax in the bush. When you provide information to BushWatch you don’t have to give your name. Information that leads to an arrest and conviction can earn a reward. You can help to keep the bush safe for everyone to use.
BushWatch aims to:
- Encourage the reporting of suspicious or criminal activity and vandalism to the police.
- Encourage the locking of vehicles and the securing of equipment and valuables. This includes engraving property with personal driver’s licence number prefixed with the letter T.
- Create awareness of offences against flora and fauna.
- Ensure the accurate reporting of drug crops. Remember do not disturb crop sites – mark a track so that the police can locate the crop.
What are some common offences?
BushWatch asks that you keep an eye out for damage to public and private property, including:
- Damage to forestry and other machinery in the bush could mean it isn’t available to fight fires.
- Damage to private vehicles and equipment may place lives at risk.
- Damage to public facilities reduces the number available and increases the cost of providing them.
- Damage to Hydro installations may interfere with power supplies or cause injury and even death.
- Damage to farming areas including theft of stock, equipment, machinery and interference with poppy crops.
- Illegal lighting of fires.
- Cultivation of marijuana crops.
- The illegal harvesting of protected flora such as tree ferns and man ferns.
- The illegal taking of protected plants, including firewood and timber.
- The illegal dumping of garden refuse, weeds, industrial waste and car bodies.
- The illegal trapping of wildlife, the illegal shooting of wildlife and illegally taking fish.
- Other offences include removal of soils, damage to river banks, disturbing Aboriginal sacred sites, illegal off-road driving and trail biking.
When you observe suspicious activities:
- Report the matter as soon as possible.
- Do not attempt to interfere with offenders, particularly with drug crops and the trapping and netting of fish and wildlife.
- Use the toll-free Crime Stoppers number to report any suspicious activity.
You can further assist police if you provide your name, address and telephone number. This enables detailed information to be gathered at a later date.
Safety tips in the bush:
- Register your trip with family and friends.
- Check weather conditions.
- Take clothing for all conditions.
- Carry spare food and a first-aid kit.
- Plan your trip, speak to someone who is familiar with the area.
- Wear adequate footwear.
- Do not attempt to move on in poor weather conditions.
- Where possible, do not walk alone.
To report crime in the bush contact the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.
Further details are available on the Stop Crime in Rural and Remote Areas page.