Thin blue line needs extra police
SOUTH Grafton man Dave Moore understands the need for extra police officers on the streets more than most people.
Last month, Dave woke up at 2.30am to find four young men, aged between about 18 and 20, in his house.
With his eldest son, he chased the offenders down the street and lost track of them.
When they continued the search by car, they discovered the men with a group of young girls, some looking as young as 14.
Dave said the group started throwing rocks at the car, forcing him to back off and go home empty handed.
During the break-in, the thieves stole alcohol, computer and digital equipment, as well as two expensive rings, a black onyx 18-carat gold ring and a square black signet ring with four diamonds.
While Dave was happy with the response from Grafton Police, he said the brazen attack would never have happened in the first place if there were more police officers patrolling the street.
“They are stretched to their limit,” Dave said. “They need every bit of help they can get.”
It's a point Grafton Detective Senior Constable Tony King agrees with.
Snr Const King is calling a meeting with the local branch of the Police Association on Thursday, May 28, to discuss the need for a new first-response policy agreement.
If the branch agrees to the change, Detective King said they would negotiate with the Coffs Clarence command to obtain up-to-date figures about the number of police officers required for the area.
He said he had been in Grafton for 10 years and he did not believe the figures had been updated in that time.
“According to the figures, the Coffs Clarence command is 30 or so officers over strength,” he said.
He said the figures did not take into account the population growth on the North Coast over the past 10 years or the 30 or so officers currently on leave.
“We can't believe the numbers based on the work we do and the increase in population,” he said.
The latest data from the NSW Police Association show 1463 police officers have left the police force across the State since the last State election.
Snr Const King said police were leaving due to a multitude of reasons, including retirement, injury or moving into other professions.
He said the State Government needed to try to retain the current force by negotiating a better award with the Police Association. The current offer of a 2.5 per cent pay rise was 'a complete joke'.
He agreed with Dave Moore about the need for more officers patrolling, and said residents could log onto www.keepourcops.org.au for updates and to show their support for the police.