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Friday, April 23, 2021

Hunter police numbers dwindle in past 15 years

How under-resourced and under-staffed are police in the Hunter?

Alarmingly low, according to Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery.

And, she has the figures to prove it.

The local member will use a speech in NSW Parliament this week to outline the worrying situation.

Numbers reveal, that over the past 15 years, the Northern Region Command’s (NRC) resources have failed to keep pace with population growth.

In 2006, the NRC oversaw 1,393,110 residents with 2,305 police on deck.

But, in 2020, despite 1,675,275 people now living in the region, only 2,191 officers are available.

During that period, the population increased a total of 21% but police numbers dropped by 5%.

Ms Hornery will also point out the Newcastle City Police District has gone slightly backwards, in the same time, from 245 to 244 officers, despite the LGA (local government area) having been ranked in the top 10 in eight crime categories by the Bureau of Crimes Statistics and Research.

“One of the most common issues raised with my office is the lack of adequate police resources in the Wallsend electorate,” she said.

“I have raised the matter on many occasions in Parliament.

“Every time an allocation of new officers is announced, I ask the same question: why is the Newcastle City Police District so consistently overlooked for probationary constables?

“Why does this government continually ignore the pleas of Wallsend residents for more police?

“Our local officers do great work, but they can’t be everywhere.

“However, the official police numbers don’t lie.

“We have seen a huge population increase, over 21%, but a decrease in their figures.”

Ms Horney said there was a clear need for a stronger policing presence in the Newcastle area.

“The Newcastle LGA holds the unfortunate distinction of being the state’s leader in steal from person, ranking first in that category,” she stated.

“Newcastle is ranked second for fraud, fifth for other theft, sixth in steal from motor vehicle, seventh in transport regulatory offences, eighth for steal from retail store, and 10th for both motor vehicle theft and robbery.

“I think we can draw a pretty clear line from this government’s lack of support for our local police to the district’s current rankings.

“I always encourage Wallsend residents to report every instance of crime or anti-social behaviour to the Police Assistance Line. 

“This government must hear what people across the Northern Region are saying.

“We need more police on the streets.”

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