Our say: Policing shouldn’t be a numbers game
OXLEY detectives, covering Tamworth and Gunnedah, are one of the most under-resourced units in Western NSW, and argue community safety is being put a risk because of a drug epidemic and a lack of officers.
The Leader can reveal that the local team has significantly less investigators than Dubbo but has to police dozens more convicted sex offenders, and covers a population with more than 20,000 extra people.
The Oxley office has one detective sergeant who leads a team of 12 detectives with two rural crime officers also stationed in the Tamworth and Gunnedah offices.
The team has to manage 73 convicted sex offenders – the highest in Western NSW and in the top 10 in the state – with no dedicated officer assigned to manage the child protection register list and carry out spontaneous checks.
In the Orana area, Dubbo has a 22-strong team with three detective sergeants or team leaders to police 55 sex offenders and a population of 62,000, while New England has 18 investigators including rural crime officers and polices a population of almost 70,000 people.
In Canobolas, 17 detectives police 68,145 people across the Orange and Cowra area.
Oxley only has 15 detectives, but has more sex offenders and covers a population of 84,749 people, making it the busiest command in Western Region.
Tamworth also has specialist equipment to scan electronic goods for child pornography or illegal activity on phones, and on average, without a designated position, local detectives are spending 46 hours per month examining phones, computers and hardware seized, on top of their usual caseload.
This week, Oxley detectives will mount a campaign to get more officers in the criminal investigation unit, which has to investigate drug dealers, outlaw motorcycle gangs, sexual assaults and convicted sex offenders.
The detectives are prohibited from speaking publicly but sources have told The Leader investigators fear community safety is at risk because there aren’t enough officers to examine every complaint, and cases are being put on the backburner with the constant stream of violent or serious crime stemming from the ice epidemic.
Sources say local police can’t get to some drug investigations because of the other work flooding in.
A spokesperson for Oxley Command said they could not comment until they see the proposal from the police association.