NSW police restructure sparks concern for regional commands

“Manning Great Lakes is not going to be amalgamated. It will stay as its own entity as a Local Area Command.”

This was Manning Great Lakes Local Area Commander Superintendent, Peter Thurtell’s response to fears that regional areas in NSW, including the Manning Great Lakes Local Area Command will lose LACs, following a recent announcement from NSW Police.

According to a spokesperson from Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead’s office, NSW Police is streamlining the structure of the organisation of putting more boots on the ground.

An announcement will be made in coming weeks on the proposed new policing structure for regional NSW, he said.

“Deputy Commissioner, Regional NSW Field Operations, Gary Worboys has been consulting widely throughout the regions, looking at crime trends, population density and expected growth, as well as the unique needs of each community to develop a proposed new structure to take the NSW Police Force into the future.

“Policing in the country is different to policing in the city, and the NSW Police Force's approach to reviewing the organisation has recognised this.

“As such, the NSW Police Force is looking at two very different structures for metropolitan Sydney and regional NSW.”

Last Friday, October 6 the NSW Police Force announced the consolidation of 42 Sydney metropolitan local area commands into 32 new commands.

This is part of the NSW Police Force re-engineering operation.

The last major organisational changes to the force occurred two decades ago.

“It is timely that the NSW Police Force sets itself up to protect the people of NSW for generations to come,” Gary Worboys said.

“These changes will establish a more flexible workforce for officers. It will allow police to be deployed where they are needed most at any given time.

“ I want to see police on the streets in our community targeting and disrupting crime and preventing new and emerging crimes.

“ As a result of these changes there will be more police out from behind the desk and on the frontline.”

The Public Service Association (PSA) issued a statement voicing concerns that many regional areas would be stripped of their local police area command under the new structure.

“Particularly concerning to public safety is word of the proposed amalgamation of 11 regional Local Area Commands into just seven,” the association said in a statement. 

Acting PSA general secretary, Troy Wright said, “We are 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.

“Workers across the State will be affected including counter staff at Police stations, Forensics officers, Intelligence analysts who track crime patterns and Community Liaison officers. Job cuts in regional areas mean less money going into the local community.

“The National Party must speak up against these cuts and reassure that police will still have the vital support that allows them to get out of the office and fully serve their communities.”