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CARL?S COP OUT

By TOBY WALKER

THE campaign to bring more police officers to the Clarence Valley has become bogged down in a bureaucratic quagmire that ends at the office of Police Minister Carl Scully.

The Clarence Valley branch of the Police Association (PA) met on Thursday to discuss the latest developments in its quest to initiate a review of staffing levels in the Coffs-Clarence Local Area Command (CCLAC).

In January the union began talks with the upper tiers of management at the CCLAC to address what it perceived as a shortfall in police numbers across the region. The PA resolved to strike if requests for a review were not met with action by the CCLAC.

PA spokesman Tony King said the CCLAC management had advised local branch members that a review could not begin until certain decisions about police allocations in NSW were made by Mr Scully.

According to information given to members of the PA, Mr Scully was yet to decide whether he would implement a new 'police allocation model'.

The 'police allocation model' is essentially used to determine where NSW's 14,454 police officers are stationed relative to crime levels around the State.

However, a spokesman for Mr Scully's office yesterday said there were no plans to implement a new model and that there were no decisions to be made on such issues by the minister.

"The main issue with members here is the overall staffing numbers and right from the outset of this campaign we've been asking that a review be conducted of the numbers," Mr King said.

"We've been informed that a decision is pending on whether to implement a new police allocation model and that it's with the minister Carl Scully.

"Until he makes a decision, basically no one's doing anything."

CCLAC acting commander Paul Fehon was not available for comment yesterday.

Based on information that indicated staffing issues could not be resolved until Mr Scully made his decision, executive members of the PA will be asked by their Clarence Valley members to meet with the minister.

"The members were disappointed that it's taking so long to have a review done on numbers to strengthen this area," Mr King said.

"But as we are now aware, the issue is with the minister and we're asking that the PA delegates approach him in Sydney to get the situation resolved."

The PA's Clarence Valley branch will meet again on May 12 to re- view the situation.



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