YOU?LL GET MORE COPS
By SAMANTHA HEALY
THE Tweed's desperate cries for more police officers have been heeded by no less than NSW premier Morris Iemma, who yesterday promised a much- needed boost in numbers for the region if re-elected later this month.
On the eve of a crisis meeting between Tweed police and politicians, NSW Police Minister John Watkins confirmed Mr Iemma would provide police on the Tweed with more resources.
He said the Premier had announced earlier this month that, if re-elected, the size of the NSW police force would increase by an additional 750 police.
"Tweed/Byron Local Area Command has been identified as a priority in the deployment of these additional officers. This means extra police will be deployed to this command," Mr Watkins said.
Mr Watkins did not outline how many new police officers would be allocated to the Tweed.
The announcement is welcome news for members of the Tweed Heads Police Association, who tonight will make a last-ditch plea to Tweed MP Neville Newell and his National Party opponent Geoff Provest for more law enforcers ahead of the March 24 state election.
Local police officers will make their concerns known at the meeting and will ask both Mr Newell and Mr Provest to address the dire state of police numbers on the Tweed.
Last week the Daily News highlighted how desperate police numbers had become in the region and across the NSW North Coast, with union spokesman Andrew Eppelstun describing the region as "bleeding".
Police resources have been pushed to their limits more recently with an increase in violent, drunken youth behaviour on weekends.
Murwillumbah residents were the latest witnesses to the youth violence epidemic plaguing the Tweed after a brawl allegedly involving a dozen or more teenagers left one person injured.
Following the recent Pottsville riot involving 300 youths, Murwillumbah residents said they too were afraid to be identified in case the youths targeted them.
One elderly lady said she was awakened by screams, foul language and fighting across the road from the Murwillumbah Golf Club, near Byangum Road about midnight on Saturday, followed by calls for someone to "call an ambulance".
A NSW Ambulance spokesman said they received three calls at approximately 11.15pm, sending two crews to the scene. One person was transported to hospital.
Sergeant Rod Golden of Tweed Heads police confirmed officers attended an incident in Hall Drive near Byangum Road, but the injured man refused to talk with police.
The Murwillumbah Fire Brigade also had to deal with fires lit in wheelie bins on Friday night and a security officer was admitted to hospital after being overcome with toxic fumes after attempting to extinguish a fire deliberately lit in a storage shed at the Murwillumbah Olympic pool.
Murwillumbah was also the scene of the now notorious 2006 Melbourne Cup Day riots which saw several hundred drunk people flood the CBD causing fights to break out.