Minister visit but little is revealed

LOCAL police were none-the wiser about some of their burning concerns after state police minister David Campbell's lightning visit to the Tweed yesterday. Mr Campbell would not say when the region could expect a strength boost, how many extra police might be allocated or whether Murwillumbah might finally get a 24-hour police station. Instead, Mr Campbell said he was looking at ways to reduce the paperwork, or red tape, police deal with each day and find ways to "get police in trucks, not behind desks". Mr Campbell then said "the regional commander advises me that there are adequate resources" and that under the serving government the authorised strength, which the government dictates, had risen by 46 per cent. The Tweed Heads Police Association has, on numerous occasions, pushed for more manpower and resources, stating that officers often felt concerned about their own safety due to a "lack in numbers". Mr Campbell also toured the Tweed Heads Police Station during his visit and spoke with a number of on-duty police officers. A police officer, who asked not to be named, told Mr Campbell about the ongoing push for a full-time custody officer and the leaking sewerage system at the busy 24-hour station. "We've been pushing for a custodial manager so shift supervisors can get back to running the station, organising our officers," the officer said. "And in terms of the station, we keep getting these patch-up jobs. "Just two weeks ago the sewerage system was leaking, we had urine leaking. It's a health issue." Mr Campbell assured Tweed Heads police that a new station would be built, but that he did not know when. Superintendent Michael Kenny, who met with the minister, said he would like to see areas like Hasting Point and Pottsville better serviced by police, and if he had the manpower, a 24-hour police presence in Murwillumbah. "Every commander would like more police," Supt Kenny said. "When I speak with the minister I will be discussing youth issues, drug and border issues and the increase in fatalities on Tweed roads." Prior to meeting with police, Mr Campbell spoke exclusively with the Daily News about cross border issues facing local police. He said he had not yet had any cross border issues raised with him, but that "it is not hard to imagine what they would be". Mr Campbell said while he had not yet met his Queensland counterpart, a meeting of police ministers was planned for the near future and that cross border issues would likely come up. Yesterday, Tweed MP Geoff Provest said he would continue to push for a meeting with the Mr Campbell, sayinf he disputed that the region had enough resources. "I dispute that and the police association backs that up," Mr Provest said. "I am hopeful of bringining our very unique issues to the minister's urgent attention."



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