Donato says a reduction in police numbers is inevitable

NOT HAPPY: Member for Orange Phil Donato.
NOT HAPPY: Member for Orange Phil Donato.

MEMBER for Orange Phil Donato told NSW Parliament talk of the metropolitan police local area command [LAC] amalgamations has “generated justifiable scepticism” in regional NSW.

Talking in NSW Parliament this week, Mr Donato said the announcement of the amalgamations was limited to metropolitan local area commands, despite numerous employees of the NSW Police force being aware of planned amalgamations of regional LACs.

He said the amalgamations were cost-cutting measures.

“I have directly witnessed certifiable evidence of the planned amalgamations of regional local area commands, which will involve the loss of jobs and the relocation of staff, both sworn and unsworn,” he said.

“It is expected that the amalgamations will permanently erase pivotal positions of leadership and management that are vital to the support of front-line police in performing their difficult duties.

“Removal of this support to an already overworked front line will only result in the burnout of police officers.”

Mr Donato said police officers’ workload was unrelenting.

“The Government has classified terrorist attack as expected, so it is not only prudent, but it is also a responsibility of the government to respond by increasing the number of police and to support them with sufficient management staff,” he said.

“LAC amalgamations and the resultant reduction in leadership, management and administrative support staff of police will stifle service to the community and is ultimately exposing the community of NSW to this risk.”

Mr Donator said the NSW Police Force had not met with all the stakeholders, including the community, to discuss the amalgamation. 

“There has been no overt public community consultation with my constituents and those who sought my representation—citizens in Orange, Parkes, Forbes, Mudgee, Young, Cowra and Cootamundra who will be directly affected by these amalgamations.”

He said cost-cutting was “the true reason for these amalgamations”.

“The delay in the announcement of regional local area commands, which will be unpopular with the community of regional NSW and likely to invoke voter backlash, is done selfishly to protect The Nationals candidates in those by-elections.”

Mr Donato said the Government and minister for police should declare their plans to amalgamate regional LACs.