A war of words has erupted between federal and state MPs over policing in the Tweed Byron area to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence and crime.
Yesterday, federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot and Labor’s state Tweed spokesman, MLC Walt Secord, called for extra police patrols in the Tweed Byron region to tackle increasing alcohol-fuelled violence and crime.
But state MP for Tweed Geoff Provest says they are ‘fear mongering’.
Mrs Elliot and Mr Secord launched the five-point plan at the Tweed Heads police station.
It includes ‘guaranteeing’ the state coalition government ‘keeps the 189 police officers in the Tweed-Byron Local Area Command rather than re-locating them to Sydney to respond to the escalation in drive-by-shootings’.
It also calls for: additional patrols in Tweed Heads at peak-alcohol-related crime times; ensuring the Tweed police station continues to operate 24 hours even after the new Kingscliff police station is built; restoring the police surveillance helicopter service; and ensuring the cross-border commissioner starts ‘tackling cross-border policing issues including alcohol-related crime and violence spilling over from the Gold Coast’.
Mrs Elliot, a former police officer, said the plan followed concerns by police commanders in the Tweed Byron that the area was one of the state’s worst for alcohol-related crime.
Mr Secord accused Mr Provest of being ‘unwilling or unable to respond to Tweed crime issues’ and that the area had a shortfall of police officers.
But Mr Provest told media that crime levels in the area were at a 20-year low.
He said the local command was at 93 per cent of its operational strength, which was well up on previous years.
He said out of the command’s 180-odd officers ‘sometimes there were 30 or more off on long-term sick leave’.