All five candidates for the seat of Dubbo in the upcoming state election might be throwing their support behind increasing the police presence in Narromine and Wellington, but they don’t agree on how this should be delivered.
Police numbers have long been an issue in these towns with many in the community calling for a greater law enforcement presence.
The introduction of a 24-hour police station is being backed by Independent candidate Mathew Dickerson, Country Labor candidate Stephen Lawrence, Shooters and Fishers candidate Lara Quealy and Greens candidate Rod Pryor. Mr Pryor added that Gulgong would also be on his list.
However, Nationals candidate Dugald Saunders said the community had been telling him the discussion needs to be about a 24-hour police ‘presence’ rather than a 24-hour station, and he has been in regular contact with senior police to ensure they were aware of the community concerns.
“It’s something I’ve been pushing since August and an issue I’ve had raised with me on radio many times.
“I’ve been talking to business owners and residents of both towns, and there’s definitely a feeling they’ve been neglected, so I am completely focused on changing that with the expertise of the police,” Mr Saunders said.
Mr Dickerson raised 24-hour police stations in issue one of his purple paper, saying ‘the communities deserve 24-hour policing’ and the community feedback he has received around the issue has been incredibly strong.
“It is simply not good enough to accept that towns the size of Wellington and Narromine should accept less than 24-hour policing.
Mr Dickerson said he would use ‘perseverance’ and ‘keep asking and pushing’ to get the outcome that was wanted if he was elected.
Mr Lawrence said he would be fighting for a 24-hour police station when he announced his intention to run as a candidate back in January 2018, but said other measures also need to be in place.
“24-hour policing will certainly lead to more arrests. That’s a good thing. But the revolving door criminal justice system will still keep turning and criminals will be released as fast as they are locked up. What is clearly needed is a three-pronged attack. Firstly 24-hour policing in Wellington and Narromine. Secondly, a properly resourced drug court that will understand social and drug related crime and thirdly a local drug rehabilitation centre,” Mr Lawrence said.
Mr Pryor said if he was a resident of any town in NSW he would expect to have a station manned 24-hours a day.
“Wellington and Narromine are not the only towns in the electorate without a 24-hour presence Gulgong is in the same position. So yes I am supportive of having stations manned 24-hours,” he said.
Would you like more Dubbo and regional news?
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Daily Liberal. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up to our free or subscriber only newsletters below: