Police numbers fall short

DESPITE an audit into police numbers revealing more than 1000 more officers are needed across NSW, the State Government's own figures show the force has been strengthened by only 210 officers.

This comes only nine months after an audit, conducted by former assistant commissioner Peter Parsons, that identified the Tweed Byron and Richmond local area commands occupied the second and third spots in NSW for stress leave vacancies, with 15 and 14 empty positions respectively.

Police Association of NSW northern region executive Detective Sergeant Tony King said in the lead-up to the March 2011 state election the association campaigned for 1500 more police across the state.

He said 210 additional officers was a long way short of addressing the number required.

"Any improvement in police numbers is welcome, however, reports have identified that far more police are needed than 210," he said.

"Communities of the Northern Rivers have been calling for additional police resources for years, however, all we have seen is minor increases.

"The population of the Northern Rivers has doubled and yet the police numbers have remained stagnant."

Since the Parsons report was revealed in February, Det Sgt King said he was yet to see the police force adopt some if its recommendations.

Yesterday Police Minister Michael Gallacher defended delaying a class of new recruits until next year

"Entry into the Police Academy of a small number of students, who have completed their preliminary studies via distance education, has been deferred until next month," he said.

"The decision by police was made based on the projected numbers required for the NSW Police Force between December 2012 and May 2013.

"We are delivering on our commitment to boost police numbers and the authorised strength of the Police Force will reach a record 16,665 officers in August 2015."