New $3 million marine base may not have full-time water cops
UPDATE Tuesday 6pm: WATER police haven't confirmed whether Marine Area Command officers will permanently operate from the future $3 million multi-agency facility.
The complex, which will also house Roads and Maritime Service and NSW Fisheries personnel, was announced late last week by the State Government.
Marine Area Commander, Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings said the command will "deploy appropriate resources" from the Coffs Harbour Sector base when necessary "to ensure the safety and security of on-water activities."
"The proposed site will provide a base for Marine Area Command officers attached to the Coffs Harbour Sector, and visiting Marine Area Command officers including police divers, to be deployed from, when required," Det Supt Hutchings said.
ORIGINAL STORY Monday 6am: A NEW $3 million marine hub at Tweed Heads will include a base for NSW water police to help fight crime, including the shipment of illicit drugs.
The police base will include a 19m vessel that is able to travel more than 100km from port and could be used to target ships offloading illegal goods such as drugs.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said water police had until now been based in the border region only during peak periods.
He said the new River Terrace facility would be headquarters for several NSW Government agencies.
"We're going to have NSW Maritime, we're going to have NSW fisheries, but there will also be areas available for NSW Marine Command, commonly known as the water police," he said.
"So I think you will see joint operations that will not only enhance the safety of our (boaties) but also our borders."
The new police command will have three permanent staff and Mr Provest said the building would include a gun lock-up and interview rooms. The NSW Government will fund the facility that will replace existing maritime services offices.
Construction is expected to finish by next summer.