Wait and see approach for LAC merger

Officers responds to a call out.
Officers responds to a call out.

Campbelltown and Macquarie Fields local area commands may be set to merge, but the impact of the decision on police and the community is still unknown.

Last week NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced the 42 metropolitan commands would be reduced to 32, with some existing commands forced to merge.

It’s believed any staff cuts would be mainly clerical.

Despite the announcement, NSW Police Association president Scott Webber said there were still a lot of discussions and decisions to be made before the mergers occurred – with many due to be held throughout the next couple of weeks.

“We still have to have meetings with all branch members and cunsult with local police and the community,” he said.

“It’s about making sure all the resources are put into the merged local command and ensuring police can not only deal with crime, but stop it before it happens.

“It’s critically important that local police who have the local knowledge and know the local area involved (in merger discussions).”

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren and Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong (both Labor) said both Macquarie Fields and Campbelltown LACs were already understaffed.

As of the end of July, Macquariie Fields only had 130 officers which was 12 short of the authorised number, while Campbelltown were six short with 147 officers. The figures did not account for those on leave.

Mr Warren said he understood the mergers were “principally supported by the LACs”. Though he said the devil would be in the detail.

“The most important issue is we support police with the appropriate resources they need to keep themselves safe,” he said.

“Policing is quite a diverse profession and officers face hardships every day. We are already down police (in terms of required staff numbers).

“The impacts won’t be known until the merge takes place and it’s something we will have to watch closely.”

Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong said he wanted a guarantee that the merger would not result in less officers.

“We are a growing region so we need more resources and more police on the beat,” he said.

‘What I want to make sure is that we don’t lose a single officer on the beat.”