THE head of the state’s police association says the region’s new regional enforcement squad (RES) needs to be tripled in size if it’s to put a dent in the local ice scourge.
Former rural crime investigator and now the new president of the Police Association of NSW (PANSW) Tony King said ice had taken hold of areas like Tamworth and the men and women in blue were drowning trying to fight it.
He said places like Tamworth needed more than a five-man squad to target manufacturers who escape to the bush to make the drugs to avoid detection from specialist Sydney squads.
“Police are overstretched in these area just dealing with the symptoms of ice,” he told The Leader.
“The size of those regional enforcement squads in these areas need to be tripled to have an impact on the ice scourge.
“We need more police to target the problems of the supply, the manufacturers.”
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Flanked by executive members of the PANSW, Jeff Budd and Michael Buko, as well as branch chair and vice chair, Josh Naughtin and Josh McKenzie, they met with Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson on Thursday afternoon in their bid to get at least 25 more police in the city, and the district.
“We wait to see what Kevin Anderson has to say and we wait to see what the premier and government have to say, this is about getting 25000 more police across the state," Mr King said.
Mr Anderson could not guarantee new police numbers but said it was his job to “continue that fight to make sure our police have the resources” they need.
“I want us to be at the front of the queue,” he said.
“We are a growing city there's no doubt about that and what we need to do is make sure the police have the resources and the staff to match that growth.”
Mr Buko said the local fight wasn’t about better pay or conditions for officers, it was ensuring there was enough boots on the ground to fight the crime impacting on the community.
“Regional NSW needs a bigger police force,” he said.
“Kevin Anderson has supported us in the past, and has done some good things in the community but now is the time we need him to support this cause.
“We need him to stand up and fight for us and this community with police numbers.”