Police patience running out

CLARENCE Valley police have called on their commanders to solve the issue of police numbers once and for all, saying it's time for police numbers to match population growth.

Police met last night in Grafton where the threat of industrial action, which does not involve going out on strike, was discussed.

Police Association north region organiser John Villiotis said police bosses had too long ignored the problem of insufficient staffing levels.

"The branch is dismayed at the lack of support from local commanders who have been putting their heads in the sand by assuring their political masters that staffing levels are more than adequate when they clearly are not," Mr Villiotis said.

Mr Villiotis said police numbers were already insufficient, and the predicament is made worse when officers are off sick.

"The official numbers are already inadequate, but matters are made worse by the number of police off on sick leave for long periods who are not replaced," he said.

"Even recent deployments of staff, following months of campaigning, have not raised the number of operationally available police to the department's 'authorised' strength."

Mr Villiotis said the branch had called for an independent police inquiry into police officers' workloads throughout the Coffs/Clarence area, but were concerned such an inquiry was no longer possible.

"The branch has repeatedly sought an independent workload analysis and the local area commander has previously indicated a desire to have the Workforce Planning Unit of the police department for this purpose," he said.

"The continual delays in carrying out this analysis have left the branch sceptical to the extent that they are no longer confident an independent review can be conducted by the department."

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