We've been stiffed -- No new police for Tweed
TWEED police officers are furious after seemingly being forgotten yet again by the powers-that-be in Sydney.
The latest allocations of police recruits to the various commands across NSW were announced yesterday, and of the 225 recruit allocations the rapidly growing Tweed/Byron Local Area Command (LAC) received none.
"We've been stiffed," Tweed Heads Police Association spokesman Andrew Eppelstun said.
"Before the state election (in March), in order to buy our silence, we were promised we would be a priority command.
"Clearly, it's another broken promise by politicians. We feel like we have no support at all from the government."
Prior to the March election,%police officers from the Tweed voted unanimously to carry out industrial action if the government did not act on the concerns of% officers in the region.
Issues such as general duties police numbers, highway patrol numbers, resources and police safety were "hot topics" for the officers angered by the alleged neglect by the NSW%government.
But a spokesman from NSW Police Minister David Campbell's office told the Daily News yesterday that the Tweed/Byron LAC was 32 officers above the command's authorised strength. "The NSW Police executive determines the allocation of police numbers and deploys officers according to the needs of local area commands," the spokesman said.
"I am advised by NSW Police that the Tweed Byron Local Area Command (LAC) has received nine police so far this year.
"As of June this year the Tweed/Byron LAC was above strength with 32 extra officers.
"Before this attestation Tweed/Byron LAC had more above-strength officers than any other command in NSW, with the exception of Newcastle LAC, which was 33 officers above strength."
In May, the Tweed/Byron LAC received two graduates from the NSW Police College.
The LAC's authorised strength for June was 159 police officers. According to NSW Police in June, the actual strength of the Tweed/Byron LAC stood at 191 officers.
But Mr Eppelstun said the%Minister's office was just "juggling numbers" and "quoting selective statistics".
"The fact is our actual strength is our authorised strength," Mr Eppelstun said.
"The 32 extra police Mr Campbell speaks of, well, we have that many on long-term sick leave.
"We have that many off with physical and psychological job-%related injuries.
"It's about having enough police to satisfy the bottom line, not even making miracles.
"The longer this area is neglected the worse and more dangerous the situation will get."
And Tweed MP Geoff Provest could not agree more, saying there has been "a serious lack of understanding from Sydney on the%issues we face here".
"We are teetering on the edge with regards to manpower and resources. There has to be a breaking point," Mr Provest said.
"The lives of the community and local police officers are in danger because of the neglect of the NSW government.
"Every time Sydney sniffles or coughs they get extra police.
"Frankly I think the Tweed Shire is a big enough area to be a separate command, not combined with Byron.
"But it seems it is a case of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. They (authorities) make decisions from a desk in Sydney and don't even%appear to talk to their frontline staff."