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Strike Force Tuohy formed as police continue to target protestors

Monday, 15 November 2021 11:43:10 AM

Please note: (Strike Force) Tuohy is pronounced “Toohey”

Police have formed Strike Force Tuohy as they continue proactive operations to actively prevent and disrupt illegal protests in the Hunter/Newcastle region.

Newcastle City Police District and Police Transport Command have been dealing with ongoing protest activity aimed at disrupting sections of the rail network, with commuter and coal trains again affected today.

Since Friday 5 November 2021, officers have arrested 17 people – including eight men and nine women – who are all members of same group.

Those people have been charged with various trespass and rail disruption offences. An additional man received a penalty infringement notice.

Officers attached to Strike Force Tuohy will be conducting proactive patrols and targeting anyone engaging in suspicious behaviour.

Officers from Police Rescue, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Public Order and Riot Squad and PolAir, as well as intelligence resources, will also assist as required.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said police have increased security and surveillance along the rail corridor to prevent further disruption to commuter and freight trains in the area.

“This government will not tolerate protestors undermining commuter activities and causing significant damage to these local industries which employ people from across the region,” Mr Elliott said.

“Specialist and local police officers are patrolling the area to ensure any illegal protest activity is disrupted. Already local police have arrested 17 people and brought them before the courts.”

Northern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter McKenna, said police were targeting protestors as a priority and their activities would not be tolerated.

“The actions of this group and individuals involved are placing lives at risk,” Assistant Commissioner McKenna said.

“Illegally entering rail corridors and expecting trains that are over 1.5km in length to stop for people placing themselves in front of them is outrageous and incredibly dangerous behaviour.

“We will continue to use the full force of the law to locate and arrest any persons involved in this criminal activity.”

Police will continue to work with Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and other members of the coal supply network to prevent further disruptions.

Additional security, surveillance and lighting have also been instigated at high-risk access points.

Police will continue to monitor and respond to any ongoing unauthorised protest activity and anyone who breaks the law or engages in antisocial behaviour will be dealt with accordingly.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.