30 August 2017
Greens MP for Ballina Tamara Smith says she wrote to the NSW Police Commissioner in May about the absence of a police presence in Alstonville and the situation that has led to two officers being on long term leave at Alstonville Police Station, leaving it effectively unmanned.
“Earlier this year I wrote to the NSW Police Commissioner Michael Fuller about concerns that police officers are not being replaced while on long term leave or on maternity leave in my electorate and across regional NSW,” said Ms Smith.
“Can you imagine any other professionals being asked to shoulder the workload of their colleagues and taking extra shifts because a fellow employee is on sick leave or having a baby?”
“There should be enough permanent police officers in a Local Area Command to allow for officers being on sick leave and for what should be celebrated – an officer having a baby.”
“The Commissioner referred my letter to the Minister for Police Troy Grant who said it was the responsibility of the Local Area Command to ensure there are an adequate number of on-duty police officers to meet demand,” said Ms Smith.
“The Commissioner, through his reform of the NSW Police Force, must look carefully at regional policing because the traditional formula for staffing commands is not working and has the bizarre effect of officers not being replaced when they are on leave. This is not the Area Commander’s problem to fix, it is a state-wide police staffing issue.”
“The Richmond Local Area Command has assured me that two police officers will be assigned to Alstonville as soon as the human resources arrangements can be put in place, which they told my office a few weeks ago would take about two months.”
“I will be happy to take a petition from Alstonville – Wollongbar residents to NSW Parliament to highlight how the systemic issues of policing in NSW are causing real concern for people living in areas like Alstonville without replacement police staff,” said Ms Smith.