OXLEY and New England commands will miss out on the latest round of police recruits to graduate from the academy today, after numbers were revealed.
Barwon is the only local command to come up trumps, with six officers posted to Moree to start work on Monday.
A total of 161 officers will walk out of the Goulburn Police Academy today but only 14 are headed this side of the Great Dividing Range to western areas.
Police Association NSW president Scott Weber told The Leader the region needs to become a priority for police numbers.
“The western region already has the tyranny of distance and it’s extremely difficult policing,” Mr Weber said.
“We need to make sure the western areas have adequate numbers of police to deal with and respond to crime.”
The Police Association maintains more allocations are needed for country areas, to ensure police stay in the communities.
“We’ve just seen the figures released in property crime such as break-and-enters and car theft and in country areas they’re bucking the state averages and actually increasing,” Mr Weber said.
“The western region needs more police resources so they don’t increase above the state average, so we actually reduce crime across the board.”
Mr Weber has welcomed the fresh recruits who will call Moree and Narrabri home for at least 12 months.
After six months at the academy in Goulburn, they’ll begin life in the force as probationary constables.
On the job they’ll be attached to senior officers on every shift to work through their practical training.
Association executive western region member Robert Dunn said the extra officers will help the local beat, but ensuring there are enough senior officers to train new recruits is always a concern.
“It can be very demanding on our staff to complete all the training requirements, however at the end of the process it has its rewards,” Mr Dunn said.
“We welcome what we can but we understand it’s not an instant fix.
“It does take some time for the solution to come to fruition.
“It’s a great number for Barwon and we’re appreciative of any additional numbers we get, but it can be difficult to manage.
“In country areas it can be difficult to recruit, but feeding officers direct from the academy eases that direct recruitment process.”
In the last round of recruits that graduated in May, New England missed out, while two officers were stationed to Tamworth and three to Moree.
According to the latest NSW police operational capacity numbers released in May, Oxley was working at full strength with 129 officers, while New England was also at 100 per cent capacity with 130 officers.
Barwon was running at 95 per cent with 91 out of the 96 officers on the job.
Mr Weber says the only way to combat crime in local areas is to boost the ranks - and governments need to ensure this is done.
“To make sure not only that we can man our police stations and man crime but also so we can do pro-active operations to stop crime before it starts.
“We need more police to deal with crime and also to prevent crime before it starts.
“So that communities like Tamworth and Armidale are safe.
“The Police Association has had conversations with the National Party and they are in agreeance that police resources need to be looked at in the Western Region.”