POLICE STRETCHED: Police attempt to calm onlookers after one of their friends was arrested and placed in a police paddy wagon during the Australia Day Brawl at Lennox Head. The police union says additional resources are needed to cope with growing youth violence on the Northern Rivers.
POLICE STRETCHED: Police attempt to calm onlookers after one of their friends was arrested and placed in a police paddy wagon during the Australia Day Brawl at Lennox Head. The police union says additional resources are needed to cope with growing youth violence on the Northern Rivers. Australia Day Brawl at Lennox Head

Public cops a raw deal

IF THE Tweed-Byron Local Area Command had more police it would be better equipped to deal with youth gangs, the NSW Police Association has said.

Troy Hamilton, from the association’s Tweed Heads branch, said the police union was currently pushing for another Tweed-Byron first response vehicle.

He said a second vehicle would help ‘under-staffed’ police respond better to the escalating problem of gang-related violence.

Mr Hamilton’s comments follow incidents of youth violence at Pottsville and Kingscliff, in the Tweed-
Byron command, and Lennox Head, in the Richmond Local Area Command.

Three men ended up in hospital, including one with a broken ankle and one with a fractured eye socket, after they were assaulted at a Pottsville caravan park last month.

A man was also glassed in the face with a bottle by teenagers at Kingscliff last weekend; and several people were arrested after a brawl involving hundreds of young people at Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head on Australia Day.

“Members of the Tweed Head branch recently passed a motion to commence dispute procedures if first response crews aren’t increased urgently at Tweed Heads,” Mr Hamilton said.

He said a growing population in the Tweed-Byron command area meant ‘members are unable to provide an adequate response to community needs, let alone provide a consistent and effective
response to the ongoing street gang crime problem’.

“All our community and political leaders need to set aside their political differences and actually tackle not just the youth street gang problem in this area, but other crime problems such as Australia Day public disorder, the drug trade and other cross-border crime that is unique to our area,” he said.

Mr Hamilton said the lack of staff was also putting officers at risk.

“Officer safety is also becoming a concern because at certain times of the day or night we have insufficient members on duty to provide adequate back-up,” he said.


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