Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Gunnedah calls for more police

Gunnedah Shire Council is calling for a boost to local police numbers to help bring an end to a growing crime surge in the Shire.

Gunnedah Mayor, Jamie Chaffey yesterday called on fellow Councillors at the July meeting to support the Gunnedah Branch of the Police Association’s call for:

  • Two additional general duties constables;
    • One general duties sergeant;
    • One full-time general administration support officer (GASO); and
    • At least three proactive crime team members to be based at Gunnedah Police Station with the priority being to service Gunnedah and the south-western area of the Oxley Police District.

Mayor Chaffey said the latest NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) data from April 2021 to March 2022 was “very worrying”.

“The data shows a significant increase in break and enter dwelling of 135.1%,” he said.

“Stealing from a dwelling increased by 51.2%, motor vehicle theft increased by 55%, stealing from a motor vehicle increased by 80% and fraud increased 47.5%. Drug use and possession is also on the rise.

“We echo the community’s concerns for the ongoing health, safety and mental well-being of our police force. As crime has increased, our already stretched policing staff are being forced to do the work of two police officers in other parts of the country.

Gunnedah Mayor, Jamie Chaffey.

“We need action, and we need it now. Council is calling on both the NSW Minister for Police and the Shadow Minister for Police to show bipartisan support for a full complement of police in our area. Our community deserves to feel safe.”

The Mayor said he fears for what lays ahead if swift action isn’t taken to arrest the increase in crime and return the Shire to one of confidence in personal safety.

He said the NSW Police Force Annual Report 2020-21 stated there were 17,727 police officers (excluding administrative officers) across a statewide population of about 8.1 million – a statewide ratio of one police officer to every 457 people.

“In the Oxley Police District, that ratio is one police officer to every 601 people. In Gunnedah Shire, that figure expands to one police officer for every 748 people.”

“It’s not good enough. Why should our hard-working men and women in Gunnedah be asked to do 65% more than officers in other areas? Why should each one of them be responsible for 65% more people than some of their colleagues?

“We are understaffed, crime has been skyrocketing, and something needs to be done. We have listened to our front line, the people on the ground here, and we are supporting them in their calls for the measures they feel are absolutely necessary,” the Mayor said.

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