No chance of 24-hour police station in Murwillumbah

MURWILLUMBAH-based police Inspector Ross Wilkinson has poured cold water on calls by State MP Thomas George for a 24-hour police station at Murwillumbah. Insp Wilkinson has told the Murwillumbah District Business Chamber staffing a station around the clock would require at least 24 officers. "I don't particularly think a 24-hour police station would be the way to go," he told a business chamber meeting in the Murwillumbah Services Club. "If we went for 24 hours that would mean we would need a minimum of 24 police." By contrast, he said the current%station was able to open 19 hours a day even though it was staffed by 12 officers. He said it was staffed from 6am till 1.30am every day except for Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays when the hours were 8am till 4am. Mr George, whose electorate of Lismore includes Murwillumbah,%began calling for a 24-hour station in the town during the state election campaign early last year and strongly repeated the calls at the public law-and-order forum he organised last month. Yesterday Mr George said he was "surprised senior police are not supportive of a 24-hour police station in Murwillumbah" "I find it difficult to accept what he is saying," Mr George said. "Other officers I've spoken to would support having extra police in the area. "Police resources at the moment in Murwillumbah are clearly not providing what the community needs in terms of policing. The feeling out there is it's a waste of time ringing the police because they are too busy. "I make no apologies for continuing to pursue the extra police." Insp Wilkinson told the business chamber police were trying to increase their profile in Murwillumbah "in every aspect we can". He defended plans to hold a free sausage sizzle where police liaison%officers could meet local youths, saying the event would not only help to break down barriers between youths but also aid in intelligence gathering. He said specialist youth officers had been working in the town over the last month gaining information which had led to "a number of young people caught for doing street-level drugs". Insp Wilkinson said police had also been regularly inspecting licensed premises in the town for any breaches of liquor laws which then had to be dealt with through the NSW Licensing Court.



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