Police Deputy Commissioner Dave Owens.
Police Deputy Commissioner Dave Owens. Bruce Thomas

Police say no to extra staff

BETTER use of resources, rather than additional police, was the key to tackling crime on the Coffs Coast.

That was the message yesterday from NSW Police deputy commissioner Dave Owens during his whistle stop tour of the region.

He did acknowledge the area had an ‘issue’ with police officers off on sick leave and with injuries.

“We have to work very hard with those who are off sick at the moment. We will work hard with them and get them back to work,” he said.

“If we break them we have to bring them back to work. The community wants to see police out on the beat and we have to provide that.”

Mr Owens said he had discussed staffing with local Police Association representatives and was happy to work with them.

“I’ve been asked, am I going to supply 50 extra police? No I am not. It’s about a better utilisation of resources in our area,” he said.

Mr Owens said it was important for the community and police to work together to reduce crime such as anti-social behaviour in the area, but he stressed crime in the region was either down or “steady” in most categories. He said his meet and greet with the officers was about listening to what they had to say about policing issues and how they were interacting with their communities.

One of his priorities is to curb the growing road toll on the North Coast. “We will not be backing off. We will be out in force,” Mr Owens said.

“We want drivers to step up to the mark and to take responsibility for their actions.

“Twenty per cent of motor vehicle accidents involve alcohol, while fatigue, speed and inexperience are also factors. Motorists need to slow down and remember 100km/h means 100km/h, not 120.”

Mr Owens said he was happy to look at all strategies to reduce road deaths such as lowering the legal blood alcohol limit to .02 per cent.

He also said planning was under way for a new Coffs Harbour police station.

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