Coffs police 'not understaffed'

THE NSW Police Deputy Commissioner has effectively denied that the Coffs Harbour Police Station or the Local Area Command is understaffed.

A spokesman for Deputy Commissioner Dave Owens said the authorised strength for the Coffs Clarence Local Area Command is 181 personnel.

“The actual strength is 185 – the area is above strength,” the spokesman told The Coffs Coast Advocate.

The spokesman did not, however, address the issue of how many staff were actually ‘active’ and available for duty but added: “Sick leave and other types of leave are issues that arise in every organisation.”

“This needs to be managed effectively through flexible rostering and intelligence-driven policing to ensure officers are in the right place at the right time.”

The spokesman said that during his recent visit the Deputy Commissioner spent the day with the Local Area Commander discussing staffing issues such as future deployment and gave a commitment to continue to work closely on processes and procedures to deliver improved services to the local community.

“He also spent time speaking with the Police Association representative and they agreed to continue to work closely together on staffing issues,” the spokesman added in a written statement.

Meanwhile, Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser said he had been contacted by numerous officers to say they were being pressured to do overtime shifts to cover gaps in rosters.

“I have been told there are 46 vacant shifts in the current six-week roster and there are 60 in the next roster,” Mr Fraser said.

The Advocate has also heard those claims from serving officers.

“And I am really worried that officers here aren’t getting the relief time they need,” Mr Fraser added.

“They are working 12 to 16 hour shifts and then not getting their rostered time off to spend with their families or just relaxing.”

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