Thursday, 28 June 2018
‘Police are not glorified taxi drivers’
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed the strong support of local councils across the region for the New England Police force in their decade’s long struggle to resolve the issue of prisoner transports.
Currently, local Police are required to transport prisoners from local commands to prisons, Court and mental health facilities. These duties are in addition to their regular frontline work and often take police away from their stations and local area for entire shifts.
“There is absolutely no doubt that our police are unfairly and unjustly overburdened with prisoner transfers,” Mr Marshall said.
“Our police are not trained to be glorified taxi drivers. They are trained to serve and protect our communities and our communities rightly expect that their local officers, when on duty, be working in and covering the community. Not ferrying prisoners across the State.
“I have had a number of meetings recently with the Police Association and New England Police District Commander, Superintendent Scott Tanner, about this matter. It is certainly a serious one for our region and a drain on police resources, especially in Glen Innes and Inverell.
“This has been an ongoing issue between NSW Police and NSW Corrections for over 20 years now, thankfully, it appears to be coming to a head.
“This matter is now before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission and next week there will be a high level meeting between Corrections and Police to try to find a solution to dramatically improve the situation.
“While there is always likely to be situations where Police Officers are best placed to transport certain high-risk or particularly dangerous offenders, there is no need for our local Police to be regulated to courier drivers,” he said.
Last week the NSW Government passed amendments to the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 giving Corrective Services the same capacity as Police when transporting mentally ill patients.
“The amendments to the Act were a step in the right direction but more needs to be done,” Mr Marshall said. “The issue has to be resolved as it disproportionately and unfairly impacts regional Police who are not in close proximity to the larger prisons.
“I strongly supported Armidale Regional Council’s call to put an end to the years of confusion and have high hopes that the negotiations between the Police and Corrective Services under the supervision of the Industrial Relations Commission taking place next week will be another step towards a positive resolution for our Police Force.
“I thank Armidale Regional Councillors, along with other councils across our region for publicly expressing their support for our local police.
“It is in all our interests that this 20-year dispute be resolved quickly and to the advantage of our men and women in blue.”
MEDIA: Adam Marshall 0429 440 054