Fears surface of Tweed police being stretched too thin
THE Police Association is ramping up calls for more officers in the Tweed amid growing fears that excessive workloads may jeopardise the safety of officers and the public.
Rapid population growth, the pending shift to a new Tweed Heads station and issues associated with enforcing law on the border of two states are responsible.
Police Association Northern Region executive member Brett Henderson-Smith said the new Tweed Heads station, in particular, would likely "impact on the number of frontline police available for the public”.
Tweed Byron LAC missed out on new recruits in the latest lot of officers to be distributed across the state last week, prompting Mr Henderson-Smith to speak out about the association's concerns and its campaign to boost forces.
"With the Tweed, when the new station opens, it'll be separate from the courthouse, so that's going to require more police officers to be able to guard the prisoners because they will have to move between locations, whereas at the moment they effectively don't,” he said.
"When that opens up, it's likely it will impact on the number of frontline police available for the public.”
Mr Henderson-Smith said the Tweed was a busy command and its officers overworked. He called on NSW Police to release the workforce allocation model so the association could see where police were needed.
Tweed Byron LAC Superintendent Wayne Starling, when asked about the Tweed missing out on new recruits, said he accepted the reasons why.
"I'm always keen to get new police into our command, both experienced and new,” he said.
"I also understand there's 80 area commands, so there's only so many that can go around.”
A spokesperson for NSW Police Minister Troy Grant said the government had made a commitment to boost the NSW Police Force to 16,795 over this term.
The spokesperson said the NSW Police Commissioner determined the allocation of officers.
A response has been sought from the police commissioner in relation to the matter.
New graduates emerge from training in May, August and December each year to replace and add to existing numbers.
The announcement comes on the back of the latest crime data for the Tweed Shire, released by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research for the quarterly update to September 2016.
The data revealed a reduction in crime across the area generally, however there was an increase in fraud-related incidents. Most of these were attributed to fuel drive-offs.