Grant hits back on police restructure

CLAIMS police will be lost in a statewide restructure have been dismissed by Police Minister Troy Grant and the NSW Police Force itself, who say there will be no cut to services. 

In a letter to the editor, member for Orange Phil Donato addressed the proposed amalgamation of 11 regional Local Area Commands (LACs) into seven and relayed the contents of a letter from Deputy Commissioner Regional Field Operations Gary Worboys to a senior member of an LAC. 

“The letter is evidence of the loss of and displacement of staff necessary to supporting front-line police,” he said. 

Mr Donato said he was concerned frontline officers would burn out after the restructure. 

“Police rely on experienced leadership … during life-and-death situations,” he said. 

Mr Donato believed the re-engineering would not be released to the public until after the Cootamundra and Murray byelections.

His concerns echoed those of the Public Service Association (PSA), which pressured Mr Grant to reveal the plans, concerned about unsworn counter staff, forensics officers and intelligence officers.

“We are extremely concerned about the loss of critical civilian support staff who ensure police are properly equipped,” acting PSA general secretary Troy Wright said.

“Rather than providing some clarity and reassurance for communities and staff, it appears the minister is happy for the process to remain a shambolic drip feed of selective information.” 

However, Mr Grant said there had not been a review in 20 years and it was “entirely false” to suggest police services would be reduced. 

“It is in no way about cutting officer numbers,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Worboys said the redesigned framework would make police more flexible. 

“At the end of this process, the public will have more police on the ground in their communities, better equipped to proactively disrupt and prevent new and emerging crimes,” he said.

“There is no plan to close any police station, or pull back from a 24-hour response where there is one now, nor divert police away from smaller communities.”

He said the Re-engineering Taskforce would consult with communities and police, including the Police Association and PSA, and no decisions had been finalised. 

An announcement will be made in the coming weeks.