Police numbers 'to be pumped up'
THE Northern Rivers is tipped to get the biggest injection of new police it has had in recent years with 13 police graduates allocated for the Richmond Local Area Command (LAC).
It's understood at least three of those officers could go to Casino, where the community has been crying out for extra police.
NSW Police Association northern region executive member Tony King confirmed the Richmond LAC had been allocated 13 probationary constables from the police academy class scheduled to graduate at the end of the year.
The Northern Region as a whole will get about 180 probationary constables.
However, the number is subject to late academy drop-outs.
It will come as the perfect Christmas present for the Richmond LAC who have historically been short-changed on police numbers.
In May this year, the Richmond LAC got one recruit out of 111 police graduates.
Last year in May, the Richmond LAC got none of the 132 graduating police as it did in December 2009, when 336 probationary constables graduated from the Goulburn-based academy.
Mr King said the 13 probationary constables would fill vacancies in the command created by police officers on long-term sick or stress leave.
"It is a remedy to the problems we are experiencing but not a cure," he said.
The Northern Star understands there are about 18 long-term sick or stress leave vacancies in the Richmond LAC.
It's understood the new police will be placed in the region's major centres, including Lismore, Ballina and Casino. While the probationary constables tipped for Casino will not be enough to give the town a 24-hour police station, it's a start, Richmond Valley mayor Col Sullivan said.
Minister for North Coast and Ballina MP Don Page said he was delighted the region was finally getting the police it deserved.
"We have been campaigning how under resourced the North Coast is," he said.
A police spokesperson could not confirm the announcement as the numbers were not finalised and for the Police Minister to announce.
Will the new recruits make a difference? Leave a comment below.