Police overdue, says Valley

MPCLARENCE MP Steve Cansdell claimed a victory of sorts when told 15 extra police officer positions would boost staff numbers in the Coffs-Clarence local area command.

Mr Cansdell said his role in putting the spotlight on perceived staffing inadequacies in the command, particularly the Lower River area, contributed to the decision by NSW Police to increase numbers in the command.

But while he welcomed the announcement, he warned the new positions would not entirely solve the staffing problems.

He said the new jobs were a great win for the community which had backed him in his quest for better local police services.

"I have been meeting with Coffs/Clarence Police Commander Paul Fehon as recently as last Thursday and I have raised the issue of local policing levels nu- merous times in State Parliament," Mr Cansdell said.

"It appears that Inspector Fehon's behind-the-scenes work and my banging on ministerial doors in Sydney have yielded some positive results."

Mr Cansdell warned that the battle had not yet been won.

"I agree with Police Association representative Andy Wright that this does not constitute a long-term solution to Clarence police staffing solutions, but it is a big step in the right direction," he said.

"Clarence cops are tops, but we still need more.

"We also have to find other solutions to our crime problems, such as instilling a greater deal of community responsibility in local young people and their parents."

Northern region Commander Peter Parsons said recruitment had begun to fill positions in 'areas of significant need' within the command.

Those areas included the Target Action Group, the Grafton highway patrol, several detectives positions, Rural Crime Investigation, general duties and critical management positions.

As previously reported in The Daily Examiner, five probationary constables will be allocated to the Grafton and Lower River areas after a 12-week training period.

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