Police still locked out of charge room
BALLINA police are outraged that more than five months after being forced to shut down their charge room, it still has not been fixed.
The facility was deemed unsafe and ill-equipped to hold prisoners, and officers have been unable to use it since April.
They have to travel to Lismore or Byron Bay to use the facilities at those police stations to charge offenders
Senior Constable Mal Sutherland, chair of the Ballina branch of the NSW Police Association, said it was an 'absolute disgrace'.
He said about $500,000 was needed to upgrade the charge room at Ballina police station.
However, Snr Const Sutherland said the NSW Police Association had been told the State Government would not provide any funding to fix the charge room problem this financial year.
“It has put police at risk for too long,” he said.
“The charge room, used for violent and agitated offenders, has none of the standard safety features needed to protect police.”
Snr Const Sutherland said officers who would otherwise be patrolling Ballina were often out of the area for about an hour at a time because they had to transport offenders to other stations.
“This is completely unacceptable,” he said.
Ballina police inspector Greg Moore agreed it was a concern.
“We're just keen to have it upgraded to an appropriate standard as quickly as possible to minimise any potential risks to officers and the community,” he said.