Tamworth Regional Council to lobby NSW government for more police

TAKE A STANCE: Councillor Russell Webb said the community is suffering without enough police on the ground.
TAKE A STANCE: Councillor Russell Webb said the community is suffering without enough police on the ground.

TAMWORTH Regional Council has been called on to lobby the state government for more police in the Oxley district.

Councillors had a presentation from a local Police Association of NSW (PANSW) representative spelling out the shortfalls currently faced by local law enforcement.

The PANSW is calling for 25 more officers on the ground in the Oxley district with resources stretched thin.

Russell Webb called on council to lobby the police minister and even the premier to address the issues in Tamworth.

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Cr Webb, who chairs the local crime prevention working group, railed against inequity shown to regional NSW compared to metropolitan areas, by the government.

“The community is suffering because of it,” Cr Webb said.

“We’re not getting the same level of service, but we pay the same amount of taxes.

“It’s time we now took a position as a council.”

Helen Tickle said it was a road council had been down before and worried a significant community push in the recent past had been for nought.

Cr Tickle said council had collected a 17,000 signature petition calling for the state government to address under-staffing in the police ranks about seven years ago.

“Did we not present that, where’s the outcome,” she asked.

General manager Paul Bennett said the petition helped secure a “dog squad” and a “temporary influx” of officers, but he said it appeared numbers had slipped backwards in recent years.

Namoi Unlimited chair Jamie Chaffey wasn’t prepared to back the Tamworth call for more police just yet.

“Quite often when we talk about crime in communities, it is a very emotive and personal thing especially if you've been affected,” he said. “We must be cautious and sure we’re dealing with facts rather than emotions.”

He said it would be up to the joint organisation board whether it backs the push.

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