We won't cop this

POLICE are calling for more numbers at Yamba to solve the growing anti-social behaviour problem in the town, but with news of police relocations throughout the Clarence Valley, it's unlikely to happen soon.

As revealed in the Examiner in January, Grafton's duty officer is being moved to Coffs Harbour, effectively removing a tier of strategic command.

This, coupled with other relocations in the Valley, has police concerned they will lack necessary numbers and resources to tackle the growing problem.

A NSW Police Association branch meeting is planned for tomorrow in Grafton, where the relocation issue and extra police for Yamba will be hotly discussed. Speaking after another flare up of problem behaviour over the weekend at Yamba, a police spokesperson said Yamba police had been calling for more numbers for years, with no result.

"We've been screaming out for five years for an increase in policing in the Lower River area, and we've got nothing," he said.

"At the moment if we are dealing with an incident and we grab somebody and take them back here (the station), you are leaving 30 to 40 kids down the street while you're doing that."

The spokesperson said the lack of police numbers hampered ability to effectively deal with the anti-social behaviour.

"NAMBUCCA Shire, which is similar to us geographically, has got 22 police and we've got 12," they said.

"We've got four police stations, they've got three. They have a duty officer for their area, a general service operator, four highway patrol officers and two detectives.

"If we had all those positions as well, there'd be a large workload off us."

Over the weekend more than 30 youths were returned to their homes after being caught drinking underage in alcoholfree zones at Yamba.

These incidents followed reports in The Daily Examiner throughout January of youths smashing windows, vandalising property and attacking firefighters.

The Examiner also has received numerous letters from concerned residents anxious to deal with the problem, and a community forum is planned for Yamba in the upcoming weeks.



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