Police grad distribution a farce

WE’VE got stations unmanned and rosters unfilled but there is still no relief in sight for the ranks of Coffs Harbour’s police.

The latest distribution of graduates from the Police Academy in Goulburn has highlighted a Sydney-centric approach to staffing that will do little to address local rostering issues. Of 131 new police recruits who graduated yesterday, none are coming to the Mid North Coast.

In fact 80 per cent of them, or 106 recruits, will go to stations in the Sydney metropolitan area. Only three will be coming to the Northern Region Command – two officers to Port Stephens and one to Tuggerah.

The Southern and Western Commands will each get six new officers.

The Police Association’s Northern Region representative Tony King said his members were outraged after realising they wouldn’t be getting any new colleagues.

“They are simply appalled by the allocation of new recruits,” he said.

“There is a clearly demonstrated need for more staff right across the region. The Alstonville and Wardell stations have been closed to support the Ballina station and Sawtell has been closed to prop up Coffs Harbour. This will do nothing to boost morale among officers.

“The Association will continue to petition the government and the hierarchy of NSW Police for a fairer deal.”

The Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said he was disappointed with the allocation of the new recruits.

“There are currently 60 unfilled slots in the roster,” he said.

“Anecdotal evidence from locals in relation to the length of time for police responses right across the local area command along with the recent ‘temporary’ closure of the Sawtell Police Station highlights the urgent need for additional resource.” Mr Fraser has vowed to voice his concerns to the Police Minister, Michael Daley, when parliament resumes next week and he won’t be alone.

Geoff Provest representing the Tweed and Steve Cansdell representing Clarence both say they had put overwhelming cases to the Government for more local officers.

“We have lodged in Parliament petitions containing thousands of signatures from residents demanding more police,” the MPs said.

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