Shadow minister for the north coast, Walt Secord, has hit out at Tweed MP and parliamentary secretary of police, Geoff Provest, saying he’s presiding over a continuing decline in police numbers in the Tweed-Byron command.
The release of January’s figures for local area commands across the state show Tweed-Byron dropped to a new low of 160 regular officers plus 17 highway patrol officers, making 177 in total, one fewer than the previous month.
Mr Secord said the NSW Police Force triennial report (last four months) on operational capacity showed the operational strength of the Tweed-Byron command had fallen by the equivalent of 7.5 full-time officers.
He added that the report showed that staffing of the command has fallen to just 92 per cent – the lowest in the northern region.
In just two years police numbers in the Tweed-Byron Local Area Command have dropped by 21 officers, according to Mr Secord.
‘Geoff Provest has no excuse. He is the parliamentary secretary for police. Instead of losing police, he should be getting more,’ Mr Secord said.
‘We keep hearing excuses from Nationals MPs Geoff Provest, Thomas George and Don Page but the number of police officers keeps falling,’ Mr Secord said.
The MP was joined by the ALP candidate for Tweed, Ron Goodman, in opposing the trend.
‘Locals are very concerned that their police force is being whittled away piece by piece,’ Mr Goodman said.
‘Residents are worried about bikie activity and general public safety. It is time the Nationals started to listen to our community rather than deny there are problems,’ he added.
‘In opposition Mr Provest complained bitterly about the number of police per head of population in the Tweed electorate,’ Mr Goodman said.
‘Mr Provest promised more police but instead he has cut the number of officers in the local command.’