Letter to the editor: Former officer on Police amalgamation

Mudgee LAC.
Mudgee LAC.

As a former Local Area Commander at Mudgee I think I can speak with some authority about the current issue of the "redistribution" of police resources away from the Mudgee Local Area Command by the current Liberal/National Party Government.

Before I make my point readers need to understand that there is a finite number of positions in the NSW Police Force.

Each of those positions has a position title and a position number. Individual officers apply for and in turn fill those positions when they become vacant.

I know this for a fact. I spent 35 years in the NSW Police Force and I actually played a role in the analysis and writing of many of those position descriptions during the implementation of position based promotion and organisational review that took place during the 1980's onwards.

When the government of the day tells the Commissioner of Police that they require an elite "anti-terrorist squad" or a "regional task force" or an increase to an overstretched Metropolitan command then those positions must come from some other command.

This means that the deck chairs are being shuffled. In political terms this usually means that policing positions are taken from commands that are seen to have lower crime rates and will cause the least amount of political damage to the government of the day.

Now when these resources are, as is most often the case, and is on this occasion taken from the "bush" you might expect that from a Sydney based Labor government, but when it comes from the National Party and championed by our own local member Troy Grant then I can only shake my head in disbelief.

Just prior to me taking command in Mudgee in the middle of 1999 a decision had been taken to reduce several policing numbers from the Mudgee Local Area Command. Several Sergeants positions and the reduction from 2 to 1 Constables positions at Coolah and Dunedoo.

Over the next few years as these officers transferred or retired the positions disappeared from the Mudgee Local Area Command and probably reappeared under another position title and position number somewhere else.

More than likely in Sydney.

This issue is well documented in the pages of the Mudgee Guardian during the early 2000's. It caused a lot of community concern but as with most things people learnt to live with it. 

Now we see the next attack on police resources to beef up the need for extra resources in the larger cities of NSW to the detriment of smaller communities.

Some important facts are:

The Mudgee Local Area Command stretches from Kandos in the east to Barradine in the west and includes the towns of Cassilis, Rylstone, Gulgong, Coolah, Dunedoo, Mendooran, Binnaway and Coonabarabran. 

I know from experience it took a whole day to drive from one end of the Command to the other with only a brief chat to the "troops" at each Police Station along the way.

The 24 hour car that operates out of Mudgee is the only car for that entire area.

The adjoining commands are Bathurst and Dubbo which are, at best, two hours away by country roads driving at the speed limit.

Mudgee Local Area Command, as is the case with all Local Area Commands, have a Local Area Commander at the rank of Superintendent, a Crime Manager at the rank of Inspector, Several Duty Officers at the rank of Inspector. 

They also have a Crime Management Unit and a local Intelligence Officer which under the guidance of the Local Area Commander and Crime Manager focus policing resources on recidivist offenders who are the small percentage of the population that commit over 90% of the crime.

Thus having command and control local based officers and supervision of these police resources are able to identify offenders and to continue to produce low crime rate figures. 

This is, and has been, the case in Mudgee for the past two decades, that I am aware of.

One might ask the question, if this model is working so well why do we need to destroy it?





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