You are wrong, Minister

By KUE DAVIS

LOCAL Police Association officials have rejected claims from state Police Minister David Campbell they are over staffed and are pushing for more resources to be posted to the Coffs Coast.

The Police Association NSW Coffs Harbour branch is now in deep negotiations with Coffs/Clarence Local Area Commander superintendent Mark Holahan in another attempt to get more boys in blue on our streets.

The move follows a number of articles in the Coffs Coast Advocate late last year which highlighted the lack of front line police officers within the command.

Meetings have already taken place to discuss a First Response agreement.

A meeting held on Monday saw the association offered a response to their First Response Policing Agreement submitted on January 9.

The members of the association rejected this offer, directing the branch to further negotiate with Mr Holahan in order to resolve the lack of front line police currently available.

A following meeting was held yesterday by branch officials and members where a revised First Response Policing Agreement was agreed upon and forwarded to Mr Holahan.

The association is now calling on the Minister for Police, David Campbell, to 'review comments made to the Coffs Coast Advocate in November 2007', and to 'actively address the current shortfalls of frontline officers required to police the Coffs Harbour community.'

Mr Campbell told the Coffs Coast Advocate on November 21 that, "I support the local area commander who has addressed the issue publicly and has stated that there is not an issue with police numbers in the region."

Despite the obvious concerns with police numbers, Mr Campbell stood by his comments last year.

"The actual strength of the Coffs/Clarence local area command is 26 above its authorised strength," he said.

"Police are working hard to drive down crime in the region. The Government is supporting police with the resources, equipment, support and tough powers they need to keep the community safe.

"The Government does not decide on the distribution of officers, that is a matter for the Commissioner and his deputies."!

Mr Holahan was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.



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