While Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens-Hunter police districts will welcome new recruits this week, Newcastle City has been snubbed following the NSW Police Academy’s latest attestation ceremony at Goulburn.
Class 345, which was introduced on Friday 26 February, includes 139 men and 55 women who’ll undertake a year of on-the-job training and complete the Associate Degree in Policing Practice by distance education with Charles Sturt University before being confirmed to the rank of constable.
The Northern Region will boast 23 probationary officers, with Hunter Valley PD, Lake Macquarie PD and Port Stephens-Hunter PD picking up two each.
But, Newcastle City PD missed out again, much to the angst of Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery.
She’s been advocating for more officers and better resources to be allocated to the region and, in particular, Newcastle City, which makes up over half of the electorate.
Ms Hornery also expressed her concern at the recent increase in crimes involving guns across the electorate, with shootings in Jesmond and Wallsend, as well as Henny Penny being robbed at gun point last week.
“It is disappointing to see that despite crime being on the rise in our area that no new recruits are being sent our way to bolster our numbers,” she said.
“We have seen a significant increase in crimes involving guns in the past few months.
“To say the community’s concerned is an understatement.
“In the last couple of weeks, we have had multiple incidents involving shots being fired in residential streets in Wallsend and a business robbed at gun point.
“While we have had a few new additions to the local police district over the past 12 months, we are once again seeing police being stretched to breaking point.
“When I speak with officers in the electorate they tell me of their massive caseloads and the problems with the large amount of officers on sick or stress leave.
“The new recruits that we have received over the last 12 months hasn’t been enough to cover the officers who have retired or left the force.
“We need more local police, we need police who are familiar with the area and are constantly rostered on to cover a specific patch.
“I will be seeking some answers locally and from the Police Minister about why we received zero new recruits.”
Commissioner Mick Fuller said the latest intake of probationary constables would hit the ground running.
“I know from experience that this is a very significant moment in every officer’s career,” he stated.
“As our newest police officers start at their commands on Monday, they can be assured that this is the start of a memorable and rewarding career in law enforcement.”