Unions "extremely concerned" with major NSW Police local area command restructure

"We are extremely concerned about the loss of critical civilian support staff" says the PSA.
"We are extremely concerned about the loss of critical civilian support staff" says the PSA.

Related story: NSW Police consultation taskforce on track for restructure

The recent NSW Police Force restructure, which will see a reduction of local area commands and the consolidation of the Hume LAC and Cootamundra LAC, has drawn concern from the Public Service Association (PSA). 

The Hume LAC will cover Northern Cootamundra, including Young, and become the Hume Police District and Wagga Wagga LAC will combine with Southern Cootamundra’s LAC to make the Riverina Police. 

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and Deputy Commissioner Regional Field Operations Gary Worboys announced the changes led by the Police Association of NSW last week.

Thirty four LAC will be replaced by 26 police districts over the next few months. Each district will have a District Superintendent and enforce a ‘Officer-in-Charge’ model for each station. 

Hundreds of officers were consulted across the state as the restructure aims to streamline ranks and have greater frontline police.

Hume LAC Superintendent Andrew Koutsoufis said the details of the merge will be negotiated between the three LAC and include talks such as the exact transfer of officers.

“The local issues will be dealt with locally,” he said.

“For frontline police it will be business as usual. I can’t see any impact on frontline police at all, I can’t see it getting any weaker for frontline police –  I can see it getting stronger for the command.”

“There’s very little impact on the Hume command.” 

The Hume LAC is part of Phase 2 of the merge, and will begin the transition in March next year. 

"A large aspect of re-engineering is putting more police back on the frontline and a flexible workforce is a good outcome for regional communities," Commissioner Fuller, who announced the restructure last year said.

“Policing in regional and rural communities differs greatly from the city and our approach recognises the unique needs and challenges of both models.”

A new Region Enforcement Squad based in Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth and Coffs-Clarence and the new Domestic Violence High Risk Offender Team in the Western Region will also be established. 

Deputy Commissioner Worboys said the new model will allow for “more more dynamic and flexible approach” with a greater focus on “important community issues”.

However the PSA have called on the NSW Nationals to step up and offer NSW Police officers more support as the model rolls out. 

“We are extremely concerned about the loss of critical civilian support staff who ensure police are properly equipped to be able to undertake the full range of their duties on behalf of their local communities,” PSA General Secretary Stewart Little said. 

Mr Little cited the “hit” on TAFE, National Parks, disability and critical public services in regional NSW led by the Coalition Government. 

“We call on the National Party in regional NSW to give an undertaking that local police will continue to have the vital administrative support that allows them to fully serve their communities and that no police officer will be forced into an administrative role and taken off frontline duties,” he said. 

Deputy Commissioner Worboys is set to lead the re-engineering process.