Shaw: New Norfolk and Derwent Valley already has round-the-clock policing
NEW Norfolk’s new police station will be little more than a “$5 million tearoom and toilet” if it does not have round-the-clock staffing, Legislative Council president Craig Farrell said during a radio debate earlier this week.
Mr Farrell, who will defend his Upper House parliamentary seat in this Saturday’s election, took part in a debate with his rival candidates on ABC Radio on Monday morning. The broadcast started with host Leon Compton individually interviewing the Labor Party’s Mr Farrell, the Liberal Party’s Ben Shaw, and the Animal Justice Party’s Ivan Davis.
Returning after a break, Mr Compton said he had received messages from listeners about the issues of health and policing at New Norfolk. “Right, 24 hour policing and 24-hour access to emergency care if it’s critically required. Three people have texted about exactly that issue. Which party is going to deliver better access to policing 24 hours a day if they’re re-elected? Ben Shaw? People seem to be asking you that question. 24-hour policing – does the Derwent need it?” Mr Compton asked.
Mr Shaw said the Derwent Valley already had 24-hour policing and a brand-new police station was being built at New Norfolk. “What we need is numbers on the ground. So you’re talking Derwent Valley, but in the Derwent region in general, we need numbers on the ground. So that’s what the Liberal Party are doing. We don’t need numbers sitting behind a desk as a wasted resource.”
Mr Farrell said the Derwent Valley needed a 24-hour manned police station but at present the New Norfolk station was not staffed around the clock. “Without permanent police manning that station, it is little more than a $5 million tea room and toilet stop,” he said. “A lot of the issues that we have with hooning and crime generally is because the people involved in these activities know the movement of the police, know when the police are coming through … it’s almost as soon as the police car leaves the the area to go back to the base at Bridgewater, the hooning starts.”
Mr Shaw rejected Mr Farrell’s statement that after-hours policing at New Norfolk was provided from Bridgewater. “No no, they are based in there,” he said in response to a question from Mr Compton after whether there were police who would come to the Derwent Valley 24/7, or were based in the Derwent Valley 24/7. “This is the question we need to ask the Labor Party and the member,” Cr Shaw said. “They’ve come out this week and said ’24/7 coverage’ again. Are they promising a 24/7 manned police station because that’s the question I’m being asked on the ground in New Norfolk and the Derwent Valley. They haven’t said a manned police station, as far as I know. They’re saying ’24/7 presence’, which is what we’ve already got.
- Mr Compton: “But it’s not staffed 24/7 as in opposed to a place that people actually live in and work out of that station? That seems to be what…”
- Mr Shaw: “That’s right.”
- Mr Farrell: “We will put police in the station. So the nice new $5 million building, when that’s completed, will have police officers in that building, on call, working in that region.”
- Mr Shaw: “They will be there 24/7 out of that building, is that what you’re…”
- Mr Farrell: “Yes.”
- Mr Shaw: “OK.”
- Mr Compton: “Well, people are asking about that.”
- Mr Shaw: “Yeah, no, they certainly are. I guess the question is, do we want our police behind a desk or do we want them out patrolling and getting criminals? So what’s the point of having a police officer sitting behind a desk?
- Mr Farrell: “It’s just a bit closer, that desk, than the desk in Bridgewater Ben. You know, if they’ve got to drive from Bridgewater, the damage is done. So if it’s just in that area, they’re closer not only to the New Norfolk town area, but also the region outside.”
- Mr Shaw: “They are not coming out of Bridgewater, just to be clear, they are patrolling and I’ve had that conversation with the sergeant as the mayor of the Derwent Valley Council quite regularly, because we are the ones that get the complaints most most of the time. We have CCTV cameras there. So more numbers on the ground is what we need. So we’ve got more numbers going to Bridgewater, we’ve got more numbers going to New Norfolk, that’s what we need.”
In a letter to New Norfolk businesswoman Liz Virtue on April 22, police commissioner Darren Hine wrote: “New Norfolk Police Station is not a 24-hour station but does provide both day shift and afternoon shift coverage seven days a week, with support from the 24-hour station at Bridgewater after hours.”
Mr Hine said there was one sergeant and 11 constables stationed at New Norfolk, with a staffing increase due next year.