Cootamundra LAC Carved Up In Merger – NSW Police Change Their Approach To Rural Policing

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A map supplied by NSW Police Media displays the changes slated for Police in country NSW.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, APM, and Deputy Commissioner Regional Field Operations Gary Worboys announced a new policing model for regional NSW last week in what the Government is calling a re-engineering.

The current 34 Local Area Commands in regional NSW will be replaced by 26 Police Districts. Cootamundra Local Area Command will cease to exist and will be carved up between the Riverina and Hume. Riverina Police District will include a consolidation of Wagga Wagga LAC and the Southern sectors of Cootamundra LAC whilst The Hume Police District will see a consolidation of the Hume LAC and the Northern sectors of Cootamundra LAC.

Further details remain scant, however, Police Media have stated, “Police Districts will have a District Superintendent with varying spans of control, while each District will incorporate an ‘Officer-in-Charge’ model for each of its police stations. Commissioner Fuller said designing a unique policing model for regional NSW has been a priority of re-engineering.” He said “A large aspect of re-engineering is putting more police back on the frontline and a flexible workforce is a good outcome for regional communities,” Commissioner Fuller said. “The new Police District model has been designed to significantly improve our capability to service Regional NSW. “The Police Districts will be supported by the new Region Enforcement Squads based at Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth and Coffs-Clarence and the new Domestic Violence High Risk Offender Team in Western Region. “Policing in regional and rural communities differs greatly from the city and our approach recognises the unique needs and challenges of both models.”

Unsworn officers and administration staff are also slated to go which will amount to job losses within communities. Deputy Commissioner Worboys said regional and rural communities want to know who their local police are and importantly who is in charge of their police station. “We will see a return to the officer in charge model throughout regional police stations overseen by a Commander at the District office,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said. “This model allows for a more dynamic and flexible approach to investigations, proactive operations and focussing on important community issues like domestic and family violence and mid-level drug supply. “Police who live and work in regional towns are often heavily involved in the local community. Their job is enhanced by being part of that community.”

The Orana Mid-Western Police District is the first of the new Police Districts to commence next month. The following districts will be progressively switched on over the coming months with a completion date of early next year. Deputy Commissioner Worboys will detail local arrangements in each of the new Police Districts as they commence under the new structure.

New Police Districts • Orana Mid-Western Police District (a consolidation of Orana and Mudgee LACs and including the policing sectors of Coonamble from Castlereagh LAC and Warren from Darling River LAC) •Hunter Valley Police District (a consolidation of Hunter Valley LAC with the southern sectors of Central Hunter LAC) • Port Stephens/Hunter Police District (a consolidation of Port Stephens LAC and the northern sectors of Central Hunter LAC) • South Coast Police District (a consolidation of Shoalhaven and Far South Coast LACs) • Riverina Police District (a consolidation of Wagga Wagga LAC and the southern sectors of Cootamundra LAC) • The Hume Police District (a consolidation of The Hume LAC and the northern sectors of Cootamundra LAC) • Oxley Police District (a consolidation of Oxley LAC and the southern sectors of Barwon LAC) • New England Police District (a consolidation of New England LAC and the northern sectors of Barwon LAC) • Central West Police District (a consolidation of Lachlan and Canobolas LACs – the Cowra and Canowindra policing sectors will move to Chifley PD)• Central North Police District (a consolidation of Darling River LAC and the northern sectors of Castlereagh LAC) • Murrumbidgee Police District (a consolidation of Griffith LAC and the Hay sector of Deniliquin LAC) • Murray River Police District (a consolidation of Albury LAC and the southern sectors of Deniliquin LAC – the Balranald and Euston policing sectors will move to Barrier PD)