Tweed police numbers in spotlight
Tweed police numbers in spotlight Trevor Veale

Police union airs staffing concerns for Tweed

THE Police Association of New South Wales continues to hold grave fears Tweed officers are being overworked and wants NSW Police to tell it how it determines where staff are allocated.

Police Association Northern Region executive member Brett Henderson- Smith said the association had no idea how staffing decisions were made because there was no transparency, with officers kept in the dark.

The association's calls come after it last month voiced concerns its Tweed Byron LAC members were overworked, warning the situation could jeopardise the safety of police and the public.

A NSW Police spokesperson said the command currently had "an authorised strength” of 163 officers, however staff were set to transfer to Tweed in February which would bring the number to 165.

The spokesperson said when that happened there would be no vacancies.

But the association said its members wanted to know how many of those 165 officers could be deployed if called upon amid concerns the number could be less than command capacity.

NSW Police was asked how many of the command's staff were currently on leave, stress-related leave, suspension and other long-term leave but would not release the information.

It instead issued a statement declaring: "Staff entitlements such as leave (were) reviewed and managed by the command in order to continually meet operational demands.”

Mr Henderson-Smith said the State Government used to require NSW Police to report publicly on operational capacity but that was no longer the case.

The public and officers had been able to see the command capacity (authorised strength) and also how many of those officers could be deployed if needed (operational strength).

The last release of that information was in December 2015, and for the two years prior it repeatedly showed the Tweed operating below staffing capacity with some records indicating the command had up to 17 fewer operational officers than it should have.

Since June 2016 NSW Police has released a set of data that uses different terminology. That data shows the Tweed as continually having officer allocation only a couple short of its authorised strength of 163. But it does not stipulate whether those forces are operational, meaning it is not clear if they could be deployed.

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