Police call for action


CLARENCE Valley police have vowed not to work alone on shifts in the Lower Clarence and have called on the Deputy Commissioner to conduct a review into staffing levels.

The local branch of the Police Association met in Grafton on Thursday night.

Police Association north region organiser John Villiotis said the branch believed officers should not have to work by themselves on shifts, and were taking steps to ensure management would not allow that to happen.

"The branch has resolved to insist management provide a second officer when anyone is working in the Lower River area," he said.

"(This means) not having a situation where one officer is responsible for the whole Lower River area by themselves. It's unacceptable to have one officer responsible for 17,500 people."

Mr Villiotis said police officers believed management was ignoring the problem of staffing levels and was not doing enough to ease the problem.

"Police are well and truly overworked and as far as we are concerned management have had their heads in the sand over it," he said.

Mr Villiotis said a minimum of five more police officers were needed for Maclean, Yamba, and Iluka.

Mr Villiotis said the branch had called on the Deputy Commissioner to conduct a review because both the local area and regional commanders had failed to do so.

"We didn't set a timeframe for the review, but basically (we want it) more or less immediately. We are not going to tolerate management saying 'you'll have to wait another month'," he said.

Coffs/Clarence local area commander superintendent Paul Fehon said he could not comment on staffing levels.

He said he had always supported a workplace review being done, but was unable to set dates as to when it would be possible.

In related news, the NSW Shadow Minister for Police, Mike Gallagher, will visit Grafton next Wednesday.

Mr Gallagher will be a guest of Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell.

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