THE workload for police in Tamworth is one-and-a-half to two times more than their metro counterparts, the force’s union warns.
The bold claims have been revealed in a new campaign to attract 25 more staff to Tamworth to help fight rising crime levels.
The Tamworth branch of the Police Association of NSW launched its campaign on Thursday, calling for 10 extra uniformed officers as well as 10 proactive police and more positions to monitor custodies and offenders on the child protection register (CPR).
“They’re on the register for a reason,” vice branch chair Josh McKenzie said, adding local detectives had it added to their workloads.
“We have been given powers to monitor those people, we just don’t have the resources to do so in a timely manner.
“That comes at a cost of other detectives who can't do the job of responding to serious crime.”
He said the community was left vulnerable as car crews were diverted away from the streets to manage the flood of custodies in the local police cells.
“The individual work rate here is somewhere between 140 and 170 per cent of some metro commands,” Mr McKenzie said.
Burwood in Sydney’s inner west recorded 1206 custodies, last year, while Newcastle was slightly busier than Tamworth, recording 1853 custodies in the same time period.
Those stations have designated custody managers, but Tamworth doesn’t.
PANSW executive member Mick Buko said the re-engineering of the force worked to identify “the holes across the state”.
“Now we know there is holes in Tamworth, holes in Narrabri, in Moree,” he said.
He country police “do a lot more with a lot less”, and said “the community should be worried, they need more police”.
He called for positions for custody sergeants and officers to monitor the child protection register in Oxley.
“We need police to manage these people, we need police knocking on their doors everyday making sure they're doing the right thing, that's what the community expects, that’s what police want to do but we need the numbers to do it,” he said.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said he speaks regularly with the local police association but had yet to be briefed on the specifics of the campaign.
He said the local force had already been bolstered with nine new probationary constables six months ago, a new regional enforcement squad and two new dedicated domestic violence officers had been deployed to the area, with Gunnedah also taking delivery of a new police station.
“When they raise issues I take it very seriously and I’ll be meeting with them next Thursday,” he said.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers’ Party candidate for Tamworth Jeff Bacon backed the call for 25 new police and said the party would use its power on the cross bench, if elected, to see the officers installed.
“We find ourselves in a position where these [Tamworth] police are almost doing three times the workload of police in the places like Newcastle,” he said, calling on the local MP to back the campaign.
“It's unacceptable that is got to this point, it's actually reprehensible.”
A NSW Police spokesperson said the force’s deputy commissioners had been tasked with reviewing a strategic crime plan to tackle and prevent offending.
"The NSW Police force is working with Government to identify where resources are needed and to ultimately deliver more police to communities across the state,” the spokesperson said.
No date for the review has been set.
“Public safety is a priority for NSW Police and this body of work will ensure we grow the organisation to continue dealing with current and emerging crime,” the spokesperson said.
"Specialist squads tasked with targeting mid-level crime such as Region Enforcement Squads and Domestic Violence High Risk Offender Teams have been established across NSW to better target and disrupt crime.”