Labor’s candidate for the state seat of Tweed, Ron Goodman, has once again raised the issue of dwindling police numbers on the north coast, quoting the government’s own statistics showing they are lower than any time since 2009.
But the sitting member, Nationals’ MP Geoff Provest, says all it proves is that Mr Goodman doesn’t know how to read the statistics.
Mr Goodman said the latest November official figures showed the Tweed-Byron Local Area Command’s actual strength was 162 officers plus 17 highway patrol officers, making a total of 179 .
‘This is two further officers lost off the local police rosters in the past reporting month and shamefully 19 fewer than were present in February 2012,’ Mr Goodman said.
‘Geoff Provest when in opposition called for a significant lift in police numbers but in government had then cut the number of police.
‘In 2009 Mr Provest declared our region was 59 officers short of its fair share of police officers.
‘Today we learn that the number of officers in the Tweed Byron Local Area Command is actually less than it was when Mr Provest made that now-broken promise to get 59 more police here,’ Mr Goodman said.
But Mr Provest said all the figures showed was that more police were on leave or off sick during that month than in previous accounting periods.
‘Once again the Labor candidate shows his total lack of understanding on this issue,’ he said.
‘To pluck out two isolated months like this is misleading and does not reflect the ebbs and flows of sick leave, rostered holidays, compassionate leave and so on,’ he added.
‘Actual police numbers will fluctuate from month to month. This doesn’t reflect the government’s commitment to police numbers.
‘We have secured 10 extra officers for Tweed-Byron LAC with six additional positions already delivered and another four positions to come in May,’ Mr Provest said.
He added the government had allocated more than $25 million in funding for a new police station in Tweed Heads and that BOCSAR figures showed many types of crime in the region were down on previous years.
‘Assault non –domestic violence is down 14 per cent, break and enter dwelling is down 20.1 per cent, break and enter non-dwelling down 17.6 per cent, steal from motor vehicle down 8.1 per cent, steal from person down 36.3 per cent and malicious damage to property down 8.5 per cent,’ Mr Provest said