Police union in town over shortage

POLICE union bosses will go head-to-head with senior officers in Coffs Harbour today over staff shortages.

The crisis meeting follows union claims that Coffs Harbour Police Station was struggling to keep its doors open and police across the Coffs/Clarence local area command were fed up with low staffing levels.

The Police Association’s northern region executive member, Detective Senior Constable Tony King, northern region union organiser Kevin Morton, and the association’s Grafton branch chairman Sergeant Steve Marshall, will meet Northern Region police human resources manager Inspector Tracy Chapman.

“Let’s hope we can start to get some answers,” Detective King said.

“We want to know what they’re going to do about the staffing problem across the command.

“We hope long-term plans can be put in place to alleviate this problem which has been going on for years.”

Detective King told the Advocate last week staff numbers were ‘very low’ at Coffs Harbour and police from the sectors of Woolgoolga, Sawtell and Bellingen along with police from other local units, were being re-deployed to Coffs Harbour to meet the minimum number of police required to keep the doors open.

He claimed police commanders were breaching Coffs Harbour’s first response policing agreement – detailing the minimum number of police officers required on duty every shift – due to the staff shortages.

The Coffs Harbour branch of the Police Association has not yet served a dispute notice with police hierarchy, but their Clarence Valley colleagues have.

Coffs/Clarence acting local area commander, Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay, said last week while the staffing issues raised by the union had ‘no direct effect on the community and the delivery of policing services’, they had to be addressed.

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