NORTH COAST NATIONALS MPs UNITE IN PUSH FOR MORE LOCAL POLICE
North Coast Nationals MPs unite in push for more local police
19 May 2008
Five North Coast Nationals MPs held extensive discussions with the Northern Region Police Commander Assistant Commissioner, Lee Shearer in Lismore today in a united campaign to secure more police officers for the region.
The MPs, Don Page (Ballina), Andrew Fraser (Coffs Harbour); Thomas George (Lismore), Steve Cansdell (Clarence) and Geoff Provest (Tweed) put their case to the region’s top officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Shearer.
The MPs also invited local mayors and crime prevention officers to the discussions.
Speaking for the team, Shadow Minister for the North Coast Don Page said that while they valued the work of existing officers highly, there were compelling arguments for a significant increase in police resources.
“In the three North Coast Local Area Commands we have a total of 593 officers,” Mr Page said.
“However that is just one officer for every 700 residents, compared to one for around 500 residents across the whole of the state.”
“We are effectively about 300 officers short of the State average, but we were only allocated seven new probationary constables from 271 who graduated at the Goulburn Academy earlier this month.”
Mr Page said the shortage of officers caused problems including one of the highest rates of sick and stress leave in the state.
“Insufficient police numbers leads to community disillusionment with police response times. This in turn leads to some people not bothering to report crime which does not help our case,” he said.
“We have a compelling case for more general duties and highway patrol officers, including:
- our rapid population growth;
- the massive influx of visitors from the Gold Coast and elsewhere;
- a very high incidence of drug related crime;
- higher than average incidents of mental illness, putting great strain on police resources;
- increased traffic on the Pacific Highway including many more heavy vehicles.”
“The Assistant Commissioner gave us a good hearing and suggested that Local Area Commanders put forward a business case to justify extra police numbers for their Local Area Commands.”
Mr Page said local State MPs and Mayors will strongly support their Local Area Commanders in this regard.
Contacts for interviews and further information:
- Don Page (02) 6686 7522 or 0428 285 319
- Andrew Fraser(02) 6652 6500
- Thomas George (02) 6621 3624 or 0427 360 781
- Geoff Provest (07) 5523 4816 or 0418 754 775
- Steve Cansdell (02) 6643 1244 or 0438 431 611