A petition by NSW Labor calling for more police for the Tweed was launched last week, and follows on from previous sparring by Labor and the Nationals over policing numbers in the region.
Tweed Labor candidate, former police officer and husband to federal Labor MP Justine Elliot, Craig Elliot, said, ‘Geoff Provest and his NSW Liberal-National Government are neglecting our area and refusing to provide Tweed with enough police to keep our community safe.’
‘Our petition calls for police numbers to be restored in Tweed and demands that the NSW Liberal-National government stop ignoring the safety concerns of local residents.
‘Our community is suffering from rising crime rates and the chronic understaffing of local police – all a direct result of the bad choices made by Tweed MP Geoff Provest and his Sydney Liberal government. His poor choices, cuts and wrong priorities are hurting our community and are seriously impacting our hard-working police.
‘There is no greater example of this than Mr Provest recklessly agreeing to waste $2.2b on demolishing and re-building two existing stadiums in Sydney, while per capita spending on the NSW Police Force has plummeted to a record low under Premier Berejiklian.
‘The latest official data confirms there were 198 police in the Tweed Byron Police District in February 2012, but by September 2017 there were only 165. That is a cut of 33 officers.
‘We all know Mr Provest’s cuts and excuses are hurting locals. Tweed needs more police to fight the scourge of Ice; home invasions; assaults; and the Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs that have fled over the border from Queensland to evade Labor’s tough anti-bikie laws.
‘Extra officers make for a safer community, and more police proactively patrolling our suburbs means residents will be safer in their homes.
‘The next election offers a clear choice: Geoff Provest and his Cuts, Crime and Chaos or voting Labor to restore the frontline services and community safety slashed by Mr Provest and his Sydney Liberal government,’ Craig said.
In reply, Provost told Echonetdaily, ‘In the past few months the Tweed-Byron Police Command has received five probationary constables, has been allocated an additional six general duty positions as well as two additional criminal investigation positions.’
‘These allocations are thanks to the re-engineering of the NSW Police Force initiated by Police commissioner Fuller. As a self-proclaimed expert on policing, the Labor candidate would appreciate the importance of new positions over an allocation of probationary constables at every station.
‘Accusing the Nationals of interfering in the allocation of police resources is nothing more than a poor attempt to score cheap political points when police numbers are currently at a record high, with 994 new positions added since 2011. The Liberal and Nationals government committed to boosting the authorised police strength to 16,795 over this term of government, and we have already exceeded that commitment. Commissioner Fuller has my complete backing and I look forward to more positive announcements about policing in the future.
‘On Monday a new Region Enforcement Squad was announced for the northern rivers. Consisting of one sergeant and four constables, the north coast Region Enforcement Squad will conduct investigations into drug supply, firearms offences, property crime, and any criminal syndicates in the area.’
Elliot then replied, ‘Mr Provest has no credibility on policing and all he ever does is blame others for his inaction and failures. After 11 long years of broken promises and endless excuses, Geoff Provest’s comments are an admission that he is not up to the job.’
As way of background, Elliot said that when in opposition in 2009, Mr Provest called on the then Police minister for an extra 59 officers when the Tweed had a strength of 184 officers. Yet when Mr Provest was voted into government in 2011, ‘he broke that promise and police numbers have been eroded away year upon year in Tweed.’
Elliot referenced NSW Police official data and Provest’s previous media releases and newsletters.
The petition is available at www.nswlabor.org.au/more_police_in_tweed.