Tweed-Byron police numbers in the spotlight
NSW POLICE Minister Troy Grant has refused to give a guarantee to increase police numbers in the Tweed-Byron command despite the recent upsurge in violent criminal behaviour.
Mr Grant today paid a visit to the Tweed following Saturday's alleged bikie murder at South Tweed, Lone Wolf and Bandido brawl at Seagulls Club last week, and recent stabbing and murder at Knox Park, Murwillumbah.
He said a review into police staffing levels could be known in three months' time but said it wasn't "always just about police numbers".
"It's a very complex issue," Mr Grant said.
"It's not always about just a numbers issue.
"It's about the way officers are rostered on and used and deployed.
"First step for us is NSW Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys working with all local commanders and the community to work out what the police numbers, and also what the style of policing is required, for the different local areas.
"If you want (Murwillumbah) police station open 24-hours day, it's got to actually serve a purpose.
"If demand isn't actually there for 24-hours to have that station open, the demand there may be to keep officers patrolling the streets at night to keep them safer."
Mr Grant said NSW police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys commenced a state-wide re-engineering of the police force on May 28 and, as part of that, a staffing review for Tweed-Byron submitted.
It is the Commissioner's responsibility to commit to more police numbers.
"Governments don't decide where resources go, that's the NSW Police Commissioner's job, and if he needs additional budget capacity in different things, that's what he comes to Government to ask for," Mr Grant said.
"The local commander, superintendent Wayne Starling, has undertaken a staffing review of what he thinks is required.
"That will inform the re-engineering process and I'm looking forward to seeing the results.
"(The results) will trickle out in the next three, six, and 12 months, in different ways depending on what the review and the taskforce finds under the re-engineering."
Mr Grant supported a 2.5% pay-rise for police officers over three years, as put forward by police unions on Monday.
"It's well above inflation," Mr Grant said.
"Policing is the sort of job, you can pay them a million bucks but it still wouldn't be enough for the work they do.
"Would I like to pay them a lot more? Of course, but we can only do what's in our capacity."