A CRITICAL shortage of police has left the North Coast with one of the lowest police-to-population ratios in the Western world, according to the police association.
Police Association of NSW president Scott Weber said a ratio of one police officer per 900 people was well below the state average of 1:500 - the worst-resourced police force in Australia.
In the lead-up to the busy summer period, the PANSW called on the O'Farrell Government to address staff shortages by getting 400 extra officers into the region.
"We are about to head into summer where the population increases dramatically and crime increases dramatically, which is why we need these extra resources to deal with calls from the community," he said.
Byron Bay and Tweed Heads are in desperate need of more officers because of summer population booms, Mr Weber said.
"Those extra police can deal with an increase in problems, whether it be alcohol-related violence in Byron Bay or other issues; with more police officers we can negate those issues."
Mr Weber said staff shortages had been identified by three region commanders on the North Coast.
"We realise there is budgetary issues but this is about community safety, this is about the community getting adequate response from police when they call for assistance."
"We are calling on the government, who have been in power for two and a half years, to put their money where their mouth is and allocate proper police resources to the North Coast."
Mr Weber said police on the North Coast were the poor cousins of officers in Sydney.
"Unlike most city Local Area Commands, where there is only one police station, country LACs can have several police stations, ranging from satellite locations working 24 hours to single-officer stations," he said.
"These all need to be staffed to keep the doors open, in addition to providing a response to calls for service from the community."