16 more cops needed
By CRAIG McTEAR
BOB Pritchard doesn't think it's too much to ask, and the community would probably agree.
The NSW Police Association president wants 16 extra police tasked to the Coffs/Clarence local area command to tackle 'increasing motor vehicle theft and vandalism'.
"With the increases in stolen motor vehicles and vandalism and malicious damage in this area, the need for full strength in police numbers is more urgent than ever," Mr Pritchard said yesterday.
"Coffs Harbour City Council has projected population increases of 1300 people per year for the next five years, which would only put further pressure on the limited amount of police now stationed in the area.
"With the population increasing, we obviously need more police to do the job.
"We need more police on the beat to be a visible deterrent.
"All commands through the State have a dire shortage of staff. We've been campaigning for 3000 extra police in NSW over the next four years.
"The State Government has committed to 750 on the street by January next year, prior to the election, so we're seeking commitments from all sides of politics for the other 2250.
"Wherever you go, there is a shortage of police. Also, long-term sick leave rates are 10 per cent throughout the State.
"In some commands it's less. In others, it's more.
"The more people you have off, it places more demands on the ones who are left, and they get sick from doing more jobs."
Mr Pritchard said an OECD report showed Australia had the highest proportion of victims of assaults and threats, including sex crimes, and the second highest proportion of burglaries and robberies, car thefts and thefts from cars.
"The OECD report only highlights the need for greater police numbers," he said.
Police Association representatives from throughout the region met in Coffs Harbour yesterday with Northern Region commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter Parsons, to raise their concerns.