The NSW Regional Deputy Police Commissioner has urged Maitland police to be patient as they approach the six month mark since the local command was split.
Deputy Commissioner Regional Field Operations Gary Worboys made the comments when he addressed Port-Stephens Hunter police at the district’s annual awards last Thursday.
It comes after the Central Hunter Local Area Command was dissolved in January, with Maitland joining Port Stephens and Cessnock merging into Hunter Valley.
Deputy Commissioner Worboys acknowledged the “angst” and “disruption” that had caused, but said there would be a six month review to “tidy up the edges”.
He thanked police for their patience through the process and said he was confident police resourcing would be a part of the upcoming state election campaign.
“We’ll again have a look across country NSW as to where we can best place those we’re given,” he said.
“There’s no doubt you folks have a very complex policing environment.
“I think we can do more for you and we will.”
Deputy Commissioner Worboys said he recently discussed the structure of the force with the Commissioner. They agreed that structure should be made up of three parts – prevention, disruption and response.
He highlighted the PCYC as an example of prevention.
“Diverting young people from the criminal justice system is so important,” he said.
“We’re really good at arresting people. But if the government keeps building jails and we keep filling them up, what sort of society are we left with?”
In terms of disruption, Deputy Commissioner Worboys wants more proactive-style policing.
“Where we’re out there – we know the group of people bringing a kilo of ice into town,” he said.
“When you look at that, there’s a whole heap of people in the centre that you’re probably not going to affect too much.
“But I guarantee within that kilo of ice there’s first time users, there’s juveniles, there’s people who don’t want to be stealing to buy that small quantity.
Police can’t rid communities of drugs, Deputy Commissioner Worboys said, but could “have a red hot go at disrupting those people” and making sure they knew the cops were in charge.
He said police were fantastic at their response to top-level incidents such as murders and car crashes.
“No one has come up to me and said ‘you cops don’t do a good job at the top end of town’,” he said.
However Deputy Commissioner Worboys said many people had told him it took them a week to build up the courage to call police over a small incident, only to be let down by the response.
“It disappoints me but those local police have not been overly interested,” he said. “They said the usual things like ‘we’re really busy, do you really want us to come out?’
“They almost embarrass the caller into saying ‘no, no I’ll be right’ and I think that’s the part of response we need to do much better.
“I think we should be everything to every person all the time.”