No new police recruits for North Coast NSW
A GRAND total of zero new police recruits have been allocated to the Tweed-Byron and Richmond local area commands, despite 131 probationary constables starting across NSW.
The Coffs-Clarence command's ranks will be bolstered by two fledgling officers from a pool of just six recruits in the entire northern region between Newcastle and the Queensland border.
Figures show police staffing levels had dropped between May 2009 and 2015 by three officers in Tweed-Byron and 18 in Coffs-Clarence.
Richmond's ranks increased from 190 officers to 210 over the same period.
Northern Region Commander Jeff Loy acknowledged the North Coast faced major policing challenges with a surge in the use of the drug ice.
But he assured residents staffing levels were at an effective level.
"Probationary constables are predominantly assigned to commands with vacant positions, taking into account their current operational strength," Assistant Commissioner Loy said.
"In this instance, the current vacancies at the Tweed-Byron and Richmond local area commands are being satisfied by lateral transfers from other experienced officers.
"Some local area commands may have more vacancies at any given time and may therefore have additional probationary constables assigned to their respective areas."
Shadow minister for the North Coast Walt Secord went on the offensive when the figures were released on Friday.
He said the then-opposition LNP declared the Tweed-Byron command was 59 officers short of its fair share in 2009, when it actually had more hands on deck than in 2015.
"Despite their promises to protect the community, the National Party has failed locals yet again by dropping police officer numbers in the Tweed Byron Local Area Command," Mr Secord said.
"Nationals MPs Geoff Provest (Tweed), Thomas George (Lismore) and Upper House MP Ben Franklin (Byron Bay) have dropped the ball on police on the North Coast.
"The lack of police in communities across the North Coast is a direct consequence of the National Party MPs failing to do their job."
A spokeswoman for Police Minister Troy Grant said he would make no comment, as the police executive decided the allocation of officers internally.
The 131 new recruits brings the total NSW Police Force's ranks to 16,695, an increase of 739 officers since August 2012. - APN NEWSDESK
- Coffs-Clarence - 2
- Tweed-Byron - 0
- Richmond - 0
- NSW - 131