Central Hunter branch of NSW Police Association cry out for more police
Central Hunter police are becoming increasinglyfrustrated with the lack of resources they have todo their jobs properly, according to the police union rep.
NSW Police Association Maitland branch chairman Mitch Dubojski said there were not enough police officers in the commandto effectively serve the community.
He said local police lived in the area and werepassionate about helping the community, but the shortage of staff meant they couldn’t provide the level of service the community deserved.
“They have a strong desire to serve the community,” he said.“But they’re frustrated in what they can produce.
“When there’s a call to service, they’vegotto prioritise those calls.”
Mr Dubojskisaidpolice numbers had not increased to cope with the rapidgrowth of the local population.
Census data showed Maitland’s population increased by almost 10,000 people between 2011 and 2016. But Mr Dubojski said those numbersdid not truly reflect the area’s boom.
“You look at the estates, areas like Aberglasslyn, Windella and estates out at Cessnock,the growth iswell above that [Census] figure,” Mr Dubojski said.“But our police capacity hasn’t increased.”
Mr Dubojski said the command’s operational strength had not changed since 2008when the Lower Hunter command split into Central Hunter and Port Stephens.
He said an increase in police numbers would result in quicker responsetimes.
More and more time istaken up on complex issues such asdomestic violence, Mr Dubojski said.
He said each domestic violence incident was unique and brought additional challenges such as the involvement of children,property damage and mental health issues.
Officersalso have legislative requirements to recordincidents, whichMr Dubojski saidtooktime to prepare for.
“[One incident] can easily be a number of hours,” he said. “That’s taking uniform police off the road.”
And on the road was where Mr Dubojski believed police needed to be.
He said the closure of Beresfield Police Station was not a huge problem.
If there were more officers, he said, theycould be outpatrolling the roads rather than sitting behind a desk.
“It’s not where we start and finish it’s how many are out there,” he said.
“We want to see the police out in the community.”
Mr Dubojski said more police on the roads was also a deterrent for people to commit crime.
“It would help us beable to be more proactive,” he said.
Mr Dubojski backed up Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison’s belief that the command needed 20 more police officers immediately in order to make a difference.
He said 20 “was a very good start”, but he would like to see even more officers deployed tothe command.
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