New recruits not enough for Tweed
THE Tweed/Byron Local Area command is tipped to receive eight extra experienced police officers, in addition to the five new recruits announced last week.
A local official for the Police Association of NSW has exclusively revealed to the Tweed Daily News the Tweed/Byron LAC is set to receive six new general duties officers and two new detectives.
The officer welcomed the news of eight additional officers, but said it still fell short of their demand for at least 20 new officers.
The five new recruits have filled vacant, existing positions in the Tweed/Byron LAC.
"It will make a difference but it's a far cry from what we need,” he said.
The positive news comes after an extended campaign in the Daily News in recent months calling for additional officers, with revelations short-staffing in the local command was pushing staff to breaking point.
Tweed/Byron LAC's Superintendent Wayne Starling on Friday welcomed news of the five new recruits, who are expected to arrive on the Tweed this week.
The recruits were part of a group of 199 that graduated from the Goulburn Police Academy on Friday.
But New South Wales Opposition Leader Luke Foley, who visited the Tweed on Monday, slammed the NSW Government for failing to do enough for police in the region.
Mr Foley said the five new recruits announced on Friday was a "disappointing outcome” and there was no certainty they'd remain in the region after their probationary period.
"Five is a drop in the ocean,” he said.
"What the Tweed needs are fully-fledged police officers and a couple of dozen more of them, perhaps three dozen more.”
He said police numbers had dropped from 198 to 165 in the command in recent years.
"People understand this is one of the fastest growing populations anywhere in Australia,” he said.
"Why is it people just across the border on the Gold Coast have more police resources today, and can look forward to a further boost, but here in the Tweed the situation is the opposite, with declining police numbers? Labor will campaign from here to the next election on giving the Tweed the police resources it needs.”
Labor's Federal MP for Richmond, Justine Elliot, said she had invited Mr Foley to the Tweed to highlight the region's "policing crisis”.
"The fact is we've got the Berejiklian government spending $2.5billion to build sports stadiums in Sydney, yet here we are on the North Coast with cuts to our police numbers, cuts to our hospital funding, cuts to our education funding and it's just not good enough.”
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said after discussions with NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys - centred on the complex nature of a command that sits on the border - he was confident more police would be delivered to the Tweed in the new year.
He said work on the new $3.5million water police complex at Tweed Marina had begun.