Police on the way to curbing plateau crime
TWO police officers will be permanently based in Alstonville to service the broader plateau area, the Richmond Local Area Command said.
Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay couldn't specify when the new officers would be starting but said it will be "in the near future.”
Det Insp Lindsay said one of the officers is in the process of moving to the area as the command works through industrial relations processes to swap the previous officer attached to the Alstonville Plateau area for a second new officer.
The upcoming arrival of the new officers comes after the departure of Alstonville previous permanent officer more than 12 months ago.
Since the officer's exit, Ballina Shire councillor Eoin Johnston has observed an increase in vandalism and petty crimes around the plateau.
Alstonville Newsagency owner, Ray Smith said the village has endured "a frustrating wait” for a replacement officer.
Mr Smith said the petty crime spike came to a head after Tuesday night's vandalism attack on the Cerebral Palsy Alliance building in Alstonville's Main Street.
Mr Smith is cynical of the news two police officers will be permanently posted in the Alstonville area.
"I think (police) have been spinning that story for a while,” Mr Smith said.
Despite plans for the new recruits, Mr Smith said he and others will continue efforts to a launch a petition for permanent police staff.
For Cr Johnston, the news of the impending officers' arrival is "most welcome.”
Ballina Shire councillors moved Cr Johnston's motion requesting the NSW Police Minster provide "additional active Police resources” for Alstonville and Wardell in October.
Cr Johnston said the council hasn't received a response.
Alstonville Wollongbar Chamber of Commerce president Richard Lutze hoped the permanent police presence will foster an increase in reporting crime within the community.
Det Insp Lindsay emphasised "the area is being well-serviced” by the police's Target Action Group, officers from Ballina Police Station and other units such as highway patrol.
"The Alstonville community need to be reassured they are being well-policed and resourced,” Det Insp Lindsay said.