Bikies, child sex, terror ‘wave’ to hit NSW, cops warn
RANK-and-file police say they need at least another 2500 cops in coming years or the state will face an unprecedented "wave of violence".
It claims the government is "patting itself on the back" while "papering over cracks" in the force that are putting lives "directly at risk".
"NSW Police are currently massively understaffed," the Police Association's Budget submission to the Berejiklian government warns.
"For years, this government has underinvested ... and now has the lowest spend per capita on policing in Australia.
"NSW already has the worst police-to-population ratio in Australia (other than the unique conditions in the ACT) and is falling further behind."
The submission says the past three years have been the "most intense period of attempted terrorist attacks in Australian history".
"Counter-terrorism requires specialist officers to monitor and prevent ... it also requires boots on the ground," it says.
The "Back the Blue" submission also raises huge concerns about the rising number of "heinous" child sex predators compared to officers.
In one NSW north coast community there are nearly 200 creeps on the Child Protection Registry with just one cop trying to keep tabs on them.
It's a frightening statistic made worse by the fact no one in the government, NSW police force or even the Police Association will release the exact number of people on the register.
"The ratio of offenders to officers is far too high," it says.
"This makes it extremely difficult for officers to engage in the level of supervision needed to prevent further offences. Each year, the Child Protection Register grows by 8-15 per cent.
"Without more officers, the capacity to properly supervise every offender will be seriously compromised, putting children directly at risk."
Police Minister Troy Grant refused to comment yesterday about the submission.
The police union also warns that dedicated taskforces - like the lauded anti-bikie squad known as Strike Force Raptor - are also at risk due to a lack of funding.
"In the past 10 years, the population of NSW has grown by almost 14 per cent," it says. "By contrast, the number of NSW police officers has grown only by 8 per cent."
The submission paper says the state needs 500 officers in the upcoming Budget and then "another 500 officers each year over the next term of government".
And it says "years of neglect" means country police stations are "significantly understaffed". This includes stations "older than 90 years" and "no longer fit workplaces for the police needed in those communities".
Problems with "dilapidated" stations include "security risks", "insufficient interview rooms", "overcrowding" and even "mould".
"New stations are desperately needed to replace old stations at Cessnock, Eastwood, Singleton, Broken Hill, Inverell," it says. "Charge rooms are needed at Gosford and Bathurst."
Finally the submission warns a "crime epidemic" is coming if the demands for extra officers are not met.
"For years, Victoria neglected police numbers," it says. "There was a wave of violence, car jackings and robbery, often occurring in public places. Overall, crime rates went up 25 per cent in five years. Dangerous offences such as robbery ... were rising by more than 20 per cent in a single year."
The submission, to be presented at the association's annual conference in Wollongong tomorrow, says for many years the force has not been able to meet a benchmark of responding to at least 80 per cent of urgent calls within a target time.
"In 2010, instead of seeing this as a wake-up call to increase police numbers, the target time was increased from 10 minutes to 12 minutes," it says. "The 80 per cent benchmark is still not met."
CHILD SEX PREDATORS
The submission warns that the ratio of "heinous" child sex offenders - such as former assistant principal Alex Gollan who in 2016 was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to child grooming and possessing child pornography - compared to officers is "far too high". It also says the Child Protection Register is growing every year by up to 15 per cent.
The much-lauded Strike Force Raptor (pictured) is at risk, the Budget submission warns. Officers from Raptor have busted some of NSW's worst bikies in high-targeted stings yet the paper says these kind of "incredibly effective" taskforces are being "stripped" of officers.
The Budget submission says the past three years have been "the most intense period of attempted terrorist attacks in Australian history", and this follows the fatal Lindt cafe siege in Sydney in December 2014 (pictured above). Yet it warns that funding for "boots on the ground" has dried up.
ON THE BEAT
The Budget submission says "proactive policing" is one of the major drivers behind crime reductions. But it warns "without more police, efforts to continue proactive policing will become more and more difficult".