No sniff of a drug dog

HE’S heard the calls for more resources but there were no promises or commitments when the Police Minister hit Tamworth yesterday.

Mike Gallacher met local MP Kevin Anderson and Oxley Superintendent Clint Pheeney behind closed doors yesterday but he told waiting media his hands were tied on announcing any resources like extra police or a dog unit.

“Look, there is no doubt we have those discussions but at the end of the day it’s a question for the commissioner to allocate them,” Mr Gallacher said.

“He looks at the state in its entirety, he looks at staffing levels, at sick reports, he looks at crime trends in the respective areas, he talks to the local area commanders and the assistant commissioners to determine the priorities.”

The minister said despite a prisoner escape and a 5000-signature petition from the local community, he doesn’t have the power to sign off on a sniffer dog for the town. 

But he claims the current wait of several hours for a dog unit to be called in was better that what it was.

“When I first became minister, one of the first things I announced was 

a decentralisation of the dog unit throughout NSW that saw dog handlers and the dogs located around country and regional areas of NSW,” he said.

“I think it’s an outstanding model and gives community instantaneous access; it gives police instantaneous access.

“What the local area commander, Mr Pheeney, and Mr Anderson are working on now is a business case for this community, not just servicing Tamworth but going out as far as Barwon as well to ensure that there are those sort of facilities available to the police and the community, too.”

Mr Anderson said the meeting with the minister was another cog to get the wheels in motion to secure resources and comes on the back of the petition from anti-crime crusader Renee Bourne.

He said crime was an ongoing problem, but one which he was working with police day in and day out to fix.

“We won’t give up. If the police need more resources then it’s my job to fight for them and I’ll be taking that business case through to the police minister as well as the dog unit,” Mr Anderson said.

“I’ll also be heading out to Menai with the Western Region Commander Geoff McKechnie to meet Superintendent Donna Adney, who runs that unit, so she can hear first hand why we believe we need those resources here.”

While in Tamworth for the brief visit, Mr Gallacher had a chance to view the new memorial to slain officer Senior Constable David Rixon, and sat down with his widow, Fiona, to see how the family was travelling.

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