Government called to upgrade AV technology in court house

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has stepped up his campaign for improved law and order facilities in Inverell, last night using a speech in State Parliament to call on the NSW Government to construct a new 24-hour police station and install modern audio visual technology in the town’s local court house.


Mr Marshall told parliament that Inverell, as a bourgeoning regional centre with a fast growing population, needed 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 55 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 toured through the station earlier this year 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 that is 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 last year – so with a station over 50 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.”


Mr Marshall also called on the government to immediately provide modern audio visual equipment and technology in the 128-year-old Inverell Court House.


“The current equipment is so poor that when the police have to show captured closed-circuits television [CCTV] footage to the court, they literally have to take the police laptop from the station into the courthouse and play the footage on the screen to the magistrate and everyone else in the courtroom,” he said.


“This situation is appalling and far from adequate for the efficient delivery of justice.


“Not having modern audio visual equipment means the Inverell Local Court cannot take advantage of the benefits and savings, in time and money, which other courts currently enjoy.


“With modern equipment, similar to that installed in the new Armidale Court House, evidence would be more easily presented and witness and some accused could give evidence via video link, reducing the need for travel and expense.”

Mr Marshall said Deputy Premier and Police and Justice Minister Troy Grant had accepted his invitation to visit Inverell next month, tour the police station and discuss the next steps.

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