THERE'S no sign of a permanent police dog for Tamworth more than a year after the last dog squad left town.
The Oxley Police District-based position has been vacant since November 2018 when the last one-man unit and tracking dog left.
The Leader has been told the position was advertised but was not filled, with the force unable to attract an officer to fill the vacancy.
In the interim, New England and Oxley police have to apply to have a dog unit travel to the commands to perform work, but this is unable to occur at short notice.
Officers have told the Leader it has hampered abilities to capture wanted offenders in pursuits and operations, when the previous handler was called upon.
The closest police dog is based in Dubbo, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, or Newcastle.
All four units are at least a 3.5-hour drive from Tamworth, and surrounding areas. Police have told the Leader it is a significant delay in operational time, and this has raised concerns among community members.
The Leader put several questions to the NSW Dog Unit, but a spokesperson did not respond to the questions.
"The NSW Police Dog Unit continues to work with Western Region to allocate resources appropriately, in the meantime the Dog Unit offers constant ongoing support to the region and deploy as required," the spokesperson said in a one-sentence statement.
Earlier this month, the dog unit was tasked to Tamworth for several days in a bid to try and stem the rise in break and enters and property crime.
The tracking dog worked alongside general duties police over several night shifts as part of the operation.
In January, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson assured locals the position wouldn't be lost from Tamworth.