Amalgamating local police commands and police stations would undermine the ability of police to connect with and relate to their local communities, according to Member for Heffron, Ron Hoenig MP.
As the former Mayor of the City of Botany Bay, I had a close and constant association with the Botany Bay Local Area Commands and all the local police officers.
I am extremely concerned this close community connection would be lost as a consequence of the merger of the Botany Bay and St George commands.
The community would certainly lose out.
Probably, only law breakers and criminals would benefit from this misguided decision by the O’Farrell State Government.
As Liberal Police Minister, Michael Gallacher, ploughs ahead with the Government's plan to amalgamate police stations across Sydney, he has indicated that the Botany Bay Local Area Command will merge with St George Local Area Command as part of the first stage of the trial.
The amalgamation of the Botany Bay Local Area Command is cause for grave concern. This command is responsible for Australia's major gateway through Sydney Airport and Port Botany.
Reducing the effectiveness of the Senior Superintendant overseeing criminal investigations in relation to both these major facilities, will put at risk the capacity of the police to focus on major crime.
Whilst the Minister has announced that this is not a cost-cutting measure, I do not trust the commitment and ability of the Liberal Government to properly manage the local area command.
Local police on the beat know where the hot spots are and they play a fundamental role in providing and establishing confidence and reassurance for the local community.
My experience of the criminal justice system has always shown me that the presence of local police and a local police station with local knowledge is the greatest deterrent to crime.
People have confidence in their local police, they have confidence that they are being appropriately protected and it is of utmost importance that people continue to feel safe in their community.