Policemen Scott Jackson and Chad Jenkins use new technology to work their livestock investigations.

Story and photos by Mandy McKeesick

At the Roma Saleyards, the largest cattle-selling centre in Australia, Detective Sergeant Scott Jackson is using FaceTime. He and Plain Clothes Senior Constable Chad Jenkins have photographed cattle with an iPad, gone online to check the brands registry and are now on a video call to give colleagues in Longreach a real-time view of beasts as part of an ongoing investigation. It is but one example of modern technology assisting Queensland’s Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad (SARCIS), better known as the stock squad.

Scott and Chad represent SARCIS in Roma and are joined by another 33 officers in nine centres across the state who use their agricultural skills to serve and protect rural communities. “We are specialists, but we are also the all-rounders of the service,” Scott says. “We can do any police work but not everyone can do our job.” 

SARCIS officers not only need to be able to ride a motorbike and horse, but must also have an understanding of the agricultural industry and stock handling. “We are still police, first and foremost, but we are a lot more capable than other units in that we are used to living out of a vehicle for days at a time and can put bikes on a trailer and be ready [for bush work] on short notice,” Chad says.

Cattle investigations make up most of their livestock work and, contrary to popular opinion, theft does not necessarily increase with high cattle prices. “When prices are high we find people are more vigilant. They tend to look at their fences and count frequently,” Scott says.
“We tend to get more cases in drought because money is tight and people will take more risks.” 

This story excerpt is from Issue #110

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2017