Police numbers

Community safety has always been and remains a top priority for me as the Member for Wagga Wagga.

While the number of break and enter offences has remained stable for two years, the rate of offences is higher per capita than metropolitan areas like Wollongong and Newcastle.

Local police are doing a fantastic job in reducing crime across the city, but they are under-resourced and overworked.

These men and women deserve the necessary resources to protect our community into the future.

Last year we campaigned to increase police numbers and as a result, the government in November announced it would fund 1500 extra NSW police officers for the state across four years.

The arrival of six additional probationary constables within the Riverina Police District in December was even more encouraging and I look forward to future additions to our local ranks.

According to the Police Association of NSW, the Riverina District Command needs another boost of 43 police officers to ensure proactive policing, instead of reactive.

General Duties Police

Wagga Wagga: 15 constables | two sergeants

Tumut: 5 constables | one sergeant

Specialist Police

CI – 6 Detectives

CPR – 3 Child Protection Register positions

TAG – 2 Target Action Group positions

TECHO – 2 Technology Enabled Crime Officers to assist with the downloading of electronic evidence

Wagga Wagga also has a Regional Enforcement Squad, with 1 sergeant and five constables. According to the Police Association of NSW, this squad needs to be doubled to target the scourge of Ice and mid-level drug suppliers.

Of course we can’t have police on every street corner, but I’ll continue to lobby for a greater share of resources so that the Wagga Wagga electorate remains a desirable and safe place to live.

In the meantime, I have been in contact with residents, members of the Riverina Police District and Neighbourhood Watch, with the intention of bringing the community together to address pressing crime-related issues across Wagga and greater districts.

I also look forward to hearing the results and recommendations of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the drug Ice, announced by the state government late last year.

SafetySteff Wills