THE New England and Oxley commands could be supersized and the Barwon area axed under the state’s major overhaul of the force in the bush.
Fairfax Media can reveal NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and Deputy Commissioner for Regional NSW Gary Worboys are considering giving the Barwon command, which polices from Boggabri up to the Queensland border and east to Bingara, the chop and splitting the stations.
It’s understood, under a proposal before Mr Worboys, the Barwon command would be axed and the Wee Waa, Narrabri and Boggabri sectors moved into the Oxley Command.
Moree as well as Mungindi, Gravesend, Warialda and Bingara would then be covered by a larger New England, with three 24-hour stations in the command.
We're not taking police away from small towns and villages, we're not closing police stations, and if you have a 24-hour police station service, you will have that tomorrow and into the future.NSW Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys
“Barwon has been put to us as an opportunity for consolidation, the actual drawing of boundaries or the finer points of that are going to be very much involved in the consultation process,” Deputy Commissioner for Regional NSW Gary Worboys told Fairfax Media, moving to confirm the re-engineering of bush policing was aiming to put more police on the beat.
“We're not taking police away from small towns and villages, we're not closing police stations, and if you have a 24-hour police station service, you will have that tomorrow and into the future.”
The force is expected to announce regional enforcement squads in Dubbo on Tuesday – with Tamworth also expected to be announced as a base.
The re-engineering taskforce – which is being led by Mr Worboys – is working on a model for Dubbo and Mudgee, and has been in the Hunter, with the Oxley, New England and Barwon area expected to come under scrutiny either later this year or into 2018.
Under the proposal, it’ll be a case of back to the future with officer-in-charge models for the towns.
A 30-year veteran of bush policing, Mr Worboys said he also wanted to see the end of drive-in-drive-out superintendents who don’t live in the commands they oversee.
He said while he couldn’t “dictate or make people live in certain places” he expected the officers-in-charge to be on the ground outside business hours and on weekends.
“Living in a country town and being a police officer in that country town and bringing your family up there and being involved in sporting groups go hand-in-hand. A police officer's job is so much more enhanced by being a part of that community,” Mr Worboys said.
Living in a country town and being a police officer in that country town and bringing your family up there and being involved in sporting groups go hand-in-hand. A police officer's job is so much more enhanced by being a part of that community.NSW Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys
“We know that the criminals operate all times of the night and it's important that we have good information from the community that will allow us to task our people and deploy our police at greatest time of risks.”
Mr Worboys said the taskforce was aiming to break down lines on maps.
He said the axing of some commands would “blend localised policing with that specialist resourcing that comes from larger centres”.
Mr Worboys said police would “be able to borrow from other towns and communities to run those strike forces” and then task and deploy officers for high visibility operations.