OXLEY Local Area police have rejected claims that a link exists between a noticeable drop in people arrested for drink driving in Gunnedah and the shift of highway patrol officers to Tamworth earlier this year.
Oxley Highway Patrol Supervisor Sergeant Denis Humphreys agreed the number of drink drivers had plunged in Gunnedah but it was because the shift in resources had resulted in an increased police
Concerns over a link were detailed in Thursday's Namoi Valley Independent which quoted Gunnedah Local Court Magistrate Bryan Wilson asking why the number of drink driving charges in the Gunnedah police patrol had dropped in recent months.
Mr Wilson said he was concerned there might be a link between the withdrawal of highway patrol officers from Gunnedah in March and the fact there were no drink drivers charged in April, May or June.
But Sergeant Humphreys said that since highway patrol police consolidated in Tamworth they were able to patrol Gunnedah and district more often.
"We've changed our focus and have a proactive strategy rather than being covert," he said.
"We're maintaining a high profile and preventing people from doing it, their chances of getting away with it are minimal.
Sergeant Humphreys said officers focused on Friday and Saturday nights and were tasked in Gunnedah almost every day missing only three days a month compared to 90 days a year under the previous system.
Oxley LAC superintendent Bob Myatt said it was premature to be blaming a drop off in charges to the transfer of highway patrol officers.
"It's a bit early to be making those links on that basis," Superintendent Myatt said.
"A lot needs to be taken into account, one being the increase in the programs highway patrol police have in place targeting speeding drink driving and seat belts.
"We're about to do a review and I'm confident that review will show a greater presence in Gunnedah than under the previous model we had."