Editorial: We need more boots on the blue line in Tamworth as Police Association of NSW calls for more officers

Calling for resources: Police Association of NSW executive member Michael Buko and Tamworth branch vice-chair Josh McKenzie. Photo: Peter Hardin 050918PHA017
Calling for resources: Police Association of NSW executive member Michael Buko and Tamworth branch vice-chair Josh McKenzie. Photo: Peter Hardin 050918PHA017

Tackling crime costs the state billions of dollars each year. Staffing a force that’s got the adequate resources to stop drug traffickers in their tracks is the first step. The cost to victims of crime and the community is the consequence if we don’t.

We know those drug dealers peddle insidious drugs like ice into our communities, hooking kids and anyone and everyone that touches it. In turn, once they’re addicted, they’ll do anything and everything to get their hands on it.

Stealing, breaking into houses, or attacking or assaulting anyone that gets in their way of their next hit.

There will never be enough boots on the frontline. We can’t stop the drug scourge but our police can put a significant dent in it – if they have enough resources.

Already we know police from smaller sectors like Manilla, Barraba, Somerton, Kootingal and the like are routinely called in to help fill the shortage of boots on the frontline in places like Tamworth and Gunnedah, leaving those areas short.

We know there is no position designated in Tamworth to monitor full-time the child protection register (CPR) or custodies – not like the cities.

Country police have always had to battle the tyranny of distance in their jobs, but also, resourcing. There are no fraud or firearms or specialist crime squad based in towns like Tamworth. 

We have a regional enforcement squad – a three or four-man team of police – to help tackle crime, backing up local detectives, target action teams and our men and women in blue.

We have a dog squad to cover from Willow Tree, west to the Pilliga and Moree and north to the Queensland border. A stark difference to the specialist positions and teams of general duties police cities like Sydney, even Newcastle and Wollongong boast.

The NRL got rid of the city versus country round and so should police – the same resources in the city should be available here.

As an election looms, we can only hope Macquarie Street is listening to the calls of the Tamworth branch of the police association before its too late.

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