Wednesday, 30 August 2017
THE case for a new 24-hour police station in Inverell will be put directly to NSW Police Commisioner Mick Fuller and Police Minister Troy Grant at a meeting next month, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced today.
Mr Marshall will lead a delegation from Inverell, which will include Inverell Shire Mayor Paul Harmon, to NSW Parliament House in early September to gain the support of Commisioner Fuller for the new station.
Mr Marshall said that since Minister Grant’s inspection of the station last year there had been some progress, but he and the Inverell community wanted a firm commitment.
“Late last year surveyors from the NSW Police properties unit were on site to scope out the site and extent of the works required,” he said. “We were told that a business case was currently being developed by NSW Police for a new station, which will be submitted to the Minister.
“The community and I are still waiting for that business case to be produced and that is why we have requested this meeting.
“I don’t want to see this important project ‘slip’ and be unnecessarily delayed, that’s why the upcoming meeting with the Commisioner and Minister will be so critical.
“We will be seeking a firm commitment for the new station from the Commisioner and an indicative timeframe for its construction. This is a very important project for Inverell and for me as the local MP.
“Our local police men and women do a magnificent job serving the community and now we need a modern station to support them in their duties, keeping the community safe.”
Mr Marshall said Inverell was a bourgeoning regional centre with a fast growing population that needs a larger and modern-day justice precinct. He said the Inverell police station was the by far the oldest of the three 24-hour police stations in the Northern Tablelands electorate.
“The station has served the community well over the past 56 years, but its current cramped and inadequate conditions mean that the time is ripe for a new station to be built that will provide a modern and professional building for our local police force to continue serving the community,” Mr Marshall said.
“The station was built in 1960 to accommodate 14 police officers and today 46 officers work in those same conditions, providing 24-hour protection for the community.
“The station is literally overflowing to the point that many of the general duties officers, the rural crime squad and detectives are working out of the three police residences that are located near the station.”
Mr Marshall has previously toured through the station with Inspector Rowan O’Brien and Mayor Paul Harmon to see the situation for himself.
“The station only one formal interview room, which means that local detectives and general duties officers cannot take statements from witnesses or an accused in a timely manner because only one interview can be conducted at a time,” he said.
“The evidence room also is too small and there is also an insufficient number of cells at the station to separately hold suspects and offenders, particularly when the local court is sitting.”
Mr Marshall said Inverell’s station stood out as a facility in need of replacement.
“The other communities served by 24-hour stations in the electorate have all recently had them replaced – Armidale in 2007 and Moree two years ago – so with a station over 56 years old, not built for 24-hour policing and not with enough room for the current, let alone future police force, I believe we have a very strong case for a new station in Inverell,” he said.
“Now is the time for a larger and more modern station to be provided to meet the community’s policing needs—not just now, but for the next 50 years as the community continues to grow and the police contingent at the station continues to increase.