DAVE Gaden finds it hard to comprehend how skilled police officers can be sitting behind desks doing paperwork that a secretary could complete.
After falling victim to one of five business break-ins on Tuesday morning at Yamba, he said reforms must be considered in the current police audit to strengthen the police presence in the Lower Clarence.
“It’s probably not conceivable that they could have a 24-hour police presence in Yamba and Maclean all the time,” he said.
“But if they could have somebody who is on 24-hour call in the Lower Clarence all the time, that would be an improvement.”
Mr Gaden said he understood local officers were restricted by a lack of staff but it was up to the O’Farrell Government to deliver on its promise of more police on the beat.
Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell said he had strongly pushed for more police numbers in his electorate, both in parliament and to Peter Parsons who was conducting the audit.
On August 12 in parliament, Mr Cansdell reinforced this push.
“In my submission I referred to policing in the Lower Clarence area of Maclean needing a minimum of seven more police, just to enable a 24-hour police presence in the Lower Clarence,” he said.
“That covers the area of Yamba, which has a police station and a population of 8000, swelling to 16,000 during holidays, but it also covers areas such as Iluka and Ashby.”
Following this week’s incidents at Yamba, he said the audit was the first step towards reforming police allocation models, but change could not happen overnight.
“They just can’t pluck a few officers out of Sydney and send them up here,” he said.
Police Association northern region executive member Tony King welcomed the allocation of a new probationary constable for the Coffs Clarence command, but said the area needed significantly more officers.
Mr King said the region, which stretches from the Central Coast to the Tweed, was allocated 13 officers from the 111 officers who were sworn in at the Goulburn police Academy yesterday.
“It has to be remembered that it is only a few police allocated,” Mr King said.
“They are probationary constables who need to be trained.
“They are filling vacant positions and it does not address the real issue, which is that these areas need a significant increase in police numbers.”