The Stock Squad

On the 15th January, 1947, the then Commissioner of Police, Mr. W. J. Mackay, approved the formation of a Central Stock Squad. Prior to that time, investigations associated with stock thefts in the Metropolitan Area and the supervision of the old Homebush State Abattoirs were carried out by Police attached to the Burwood Police Station.

In the late 1970’s the Stock Squad comprised of two Detective Sergeants and four Detective Constables who operated out of the Flemington Police Station. These men, in addition to being trained in all phases of Criminal Investigation word, had to have a sound knowledge of animal husbandry, veterinary science, wool classing and stock and station management. They had to be capable horsemen and also be able to handle all classes of livestock.

Duties of the Squad Members were to handle investigations of thefts of livestock, wool and grain in the Metropolitan area. They also supervised all stock sales throughout the Metropolitan Area with the view to detecting stolen livestock and other offences under the various Acts related to the smooth running of the Rural Industry, such as The Swine Branding Act, Pastures Protection Act, and many others not coming within the normal scope of ordinary Police work.

Members of the Squad were in regular attendance at the Flemington, Parramatta, and Camden stock sales. At an average daily Flemington sale in the mid to late 1960’s, some 2,500 cattle and 30,000 sheep would be disposed of, and Stock Squad members would be present to detect any illegal disposal of stock or any offences of cruelty. The Squad was also responsible for the protection of the Australian Wheat Board’s wheat silos that were in the grounds of the Homebush Abattoirs. The Squad effected many arrests for the theft of wheat, and wheat bags from the area.

In addition to the duties mentioned above, Squad members were also required to assist Country Police in the investigation of Stock, Wool and Grain thefts when required.