Musk stick cops

KEN Moroney is advising Coffs Coast police officers to 'take the musk stick approach' to policing.

The NSW Police Commissioner and his wife Beverley visited Macksville on Saturday and Urunga yesterday on a tour of Mid North Coast and New England police stations.

He is listening to issues of concern raised by police officers as well as talking to them about internal police systems and plans for the future of the NSW Police as an organisation.

Mr Moroney explained that when he was a new police recruit at Coraki, he had seen the confrontational atmosphere of a difficult and potentially violent situation defused by the simple act of offering musk sticks to a small Aboriginal boy who had strolled into the middle of the confrontation.

Mr Moroney said police officers in different communities needed to develop approaches that suited their own needs and to work with people in the Aboriginal community and other ethnic communities.

He spent 18 of his 40-year career at country stations like Lismore and Coraki and he said yesterday they had been the most personally rewarding and satisfying because country policemen were able to see the results of what they were doing.

He said it was not enough for police to simply respond to situations. They had to 'put up their antenna' and understand, appreciate and communicate what were the real issues in their community.

He said treating people as you would like to be treated and being alert to signals which showed a problem was developing were keys to effective policing and the use of 'more riot gear and 50 more barking dogs', while they were sometimes necessary, showed it was too late.

He said the organisation had to learn from the recent Sydney riots at Redfern and Macquarie Fields that it was not only what had happened and how police responded, but also how and why the event had occurred.

He said it was better to get in early, buy musk sticks, discover the emerging issues and get working.

Mr Moroney said there was a lot of good news about the reduction in crime in NSW contained in two recent reports, one on national and the other on state trends and he wanted to thank the community for their tremendous support because without the community the police could not do their job.

Police, who provide a 24-hour a day, seven days a week response, should also be providing information about social problems like substance abuse to other government departments which operate on an 8am to 5pm basis, Mr Moroney said.

Police Minister Carl Scully has allocated $1 million for refurbishment of the Kempsey Police Station but Mr Moroney, who visited the station on Saturday said it a matter of looking at whether a new station might be a better option, as the present station is over 100 years old.

The Commissioner, who received a commendation for his services to policing during the Sydney Olympics in 2000, said he expected to be retired by the time the Olympics reached London in 2012, but he had no plans to write a 'tell all' book during his retirement.

Mr Moroney's current contract as Police Commissioner ends in 2006 but his wife said she expected he would stay on for at least another year.

Describing their tour as a 'double act' Mr Moroney said his wife was using the tour to talk to spouses of police officers.

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