Local police are calling for increased numbers in Macarthur and Wollondilly and Camden’s Labor candidates want to help them achieve their goal.
Camden Labor candidate Sally Quinnell and Wollondilly Labor candidate Jo-Ann Davidson met with opposition spokesman for police Guy Zangari to discuss the shortage of officers in the region last week.
Mrs Quinnell said the “tyranny of distance” meant the local police officers she had spoken to felt stretched to their limits.
“No one can say we haven’t taken our fair share of development and now we need the emergency service infrastructure to cope with that,” she said.
“We need the services to increase to meet the number of people in our area.
“People are also telling me there is a disconnect between people and police in our area.
“Police officers I have spoken to are saying some of the community relationships with police and the ability to prevent crime through sheer presence is not improving – it’s getting worse.
“There has also been a drop in mental health among police – these are our frontline officers, we need to make sure they are looked after.”
Mrs Davidson echoed Mrs Quinnell’s sentiments and lamented the lack of an active police station in Wollondilly.
“The community is telling us they don’t feel safe because there is no presence of police on ground,” she said.
“People are telling me they feel insecure because they can’t go to a station and talk to someone in Wollondilly.
“This electorate goes from Warragamba to Bowral so people are rightly concerned with the lack of a strong police presence.
“We want our fair share.”
The Police Association NSW (PANSW) started calling out for more officers to be stationed in Camden in 2017.
PANSW south west region organiser Rod Sheraton said the association was fighting for more police to be stationed in the region.
“We are currently in negotiations and meetings with the police commissioner about the allocation of police numbers at Camden Police Area Command,” he said.
“Camden has run a long campaign to raise police numbers in the area and they continue to be at the forefront of our negotiations.
“Camden is certainly a growth area and that raises issues, as well as the distance between jobs.”
PANSW’s Back the Blue campaign kicked off in September last year to lobby the government for 2500 more police.
Both the Labor and Liberal parties have promised to employ 1600 more police if elected in March.
Opposition spokesman for police Guy Zangari said communities across NSW were crying out for extra police.
“Overwhelmingly people say the police are doing a great job, their numbers are just stretched,” he said.
”The tyranny of distance in Camden and Wollondilly makes it difficult for officers to respond to calls 30 to 40 kilometres away.
“There is a lot of pressure on officers, increased stress tension and anxiety.”
Camden MP Chris Patterson said he was aware of the demands local police were facing.
“The current government has bought in more recruits over the past eight years than the previous 16 years,” he said.
“We are not the experts on allocating resources, the police are.”