ON THE JOB: Home is where the heart is … Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell has taken over as the Northern Region’s top cop. Picture: Marina NeilNEWCASTLE’S Max Mitchell says he’s back where he belongs.
“Newcastle is home,” he said.
“It’s been quite hectic, from start to finish each day, but the most important thing is that I have a smile on my face because I’m not in Sydney.”
Assistant Commissioner Mitchell, the former chief of Newcastle City Local Area Command, was back in familiar territory this week, after formally taking the reigns as the Northern Region commander – responsible for the fight on crime in an area stretching from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Queensland border.
Mr Mitchell takes the helm from former Northern Region commander Jeff Loy, who was promoted to deputy commissioner in May, as part of Commissioner Mick Fuller’s new leadership team.
The region’s new top cop, who most recently served as the first commander of the Police Transport Command, said he takes the job at a time of extraordinary change in the organisation.
Overall crime is down, according to the statistics, but workloads are up. The nature of crime is evolving, with cyber offences and fraud more more prevalent in the digital era.
And, Mr Mitchell says, police need to be more involved with tackling social issues such as homelessness, drug and alcohol addictionand youth unemployment, and raisingmental health awareness, than ever before.
‘We’ve got to keep up with change’: Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell. Picture: Marina Neil
“We’ve got to keep up with change because, as we all know, change is dynamic right now,” he said.
One of the biggest changes on the horizon could see an overhaul of the structure of the Hunter’s law enforcement.
Top brass are in active discussion about merging some commands, with reduction of upper management seen as a way of boosting “boots on the ground”.
Quizzed about the changes, Mr Mitchell said “a number of options are on the table”.
“[But]right at this point in time there has been no decisions made,” he said.“Right now we are in that embryo stage of what are the opportunities.”
Mr Mitchell said reducing road trauma, violent crime, sexual assaultsand continuing a crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs would be a priority for the command.