NSW Police Minister Troy GrantThe local police union branchhas accused the NSW Government of “mixed messages” over a potential new police station at Cessnock.
The frustration comes fromthegovernment’sproposal to “re-engineer” thelocal force, by merging Maitland into the Port Stephens command and Cessnock into the Hunter Valley.
The restructureis expected to put more policeon the ground, byreducing upper management.
Local police believedthe move would also lead to improved infrastructure, particularly an upgrade to the aging station at Cessnock.
But Police Minister Troy Grant told Fairfax Media therewere no plansfor a new station at Cessnock.
“The NSW Police Force advises there are no current plans to build a new police station in Cessnock as minor remedial works were completed earlier this year in order to upgrade the station area,” he said.
Mr Grant’s comments have left local police fuming.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” NSW Police Association Central Hunter branch chairman Mitch Dubojski said.
“During recent discussions we were under the impression there would be a fit-for-purpose building constructed within in the Cessnock district. We’re getting mixed messages.”
Cessnock Police Station
Mr Grant said the restructure wasabout providing the community with a police force that was “flexible, nimble, well-resourced and best placed to address current and future policing needs”.
But Mr Dubojski said police could not service the community properly with the current resources.
“They talk about future proofing, but I don’t see how working in a building that is dilapidated is future proofing,” he said.
Under the restructureCessnock is set to receive a boost to its front line, as more officers from the Central Hunterare expected to be moved across into the new-look Hunter Valley command,which currently has headquarters in Muswellbrook.
Cessnock MP Clayton Barr saidCessnock wouldbecome a “significant epicentre” if it joins the Hunter Valley command.
Cessnock MP Clayton Barr
“The Cessnock LGA would then make up two-thirds of the population of the Hunter Valley command,” he said. “But if they send more police to Cessnock, where are they going to put them?”
Mr Dubojski said if more officers were moved to Cessnock, the force wouldhave to use temporary buildings, such as demountables.
Mr Barr and Mr Dubojski bothsaid the Cessnock station wasnot fit for the purposes of modern policing.
Mr Barr remainedhopeful the re-engineering process would force the government to build a newstation.
“We need to bite the bullet and re-build Cessnock,” Mr Barrsaid. “The re-engineering might be the tipping point.”Continue reading »