GIVE US MORE POLICE
By DARREN COYNE
SECURITY cameras in hot spots such as Murwillumbah's Knox Park and a greater police presence are needed to curb anti-social behaviour, according to Phil Youngblutt.
The Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber president said the town had been starved of police in recent years which had resulted in the rise of drinking, loitering and drug use in the park.
The issue of Knox Park reignited this week when 10-year-old Kieran Davis, from Crystal Creek, stepped on a syringe while using a public toilet frequented by drug users in the park.
He faces an agonising three-month waitfor the results of blood tests to determine whether he might have contracted serious infection.
The Daily News visited the park after the incident and discovered more syringes in and around the toilets, illegal drinking and disgusting graffiti in other toilets within the park.
By midday yesterday the toilets had been cleaned and the Tweed Shire Council gave a committment that regular inspections would be introduced to ensure syringe bins were maintained.
But Mr Youngblutt said a stronger focus on policing was needed.
"There's way less police in Murwillumbah than there was 15 years ago, something like a touch over half of what there used to be yet the population has in-creased," he said.
Kieran's mother Bridgette said groups were still drinking in the rotunda yesterday morning despite pro-mises from police and council to crack-down on such behaviour.
"They need to have security surveillance and the grounds of the park patrolled regularly. They need to put undercover officers in there and deal with the problems," Ms Davis said.
Murwillumbah Rate-payers and Residents Association spokeswoman Diana Eriksen said her group had recently written to the council regarding ongoing vandalism to playground equipment in the park.
"Knox Park used to be the hub of the town when I was a kid. It's a sad thing what is happening there with vandalism and graffiti," Mrs Eriksen said.