by Breanna Chillingworth
THE police association claims local towns are being left at risk and without adequate policing because of long prisoner escorts taking officers away from the frontline in New England.
The Armidale branch of the NSW Police Association (PANSW) says a police vehicle was taken off the road for three eight-hour round trips to transport prisoners to Kempsey jail last week alone.
Armidale branch chair Chris Jordan told Fairfax Media there was also no police truck available in a New England town for six hours while officers transported a prisoner to Lismore.
“Local police do have to go away, and they feel they leave communities at risk through this process,” he said.
Mr Jordan said the issue of prisoner transports – taking officers off the frontline to do escorts between stations and jails – had been around for longer than his 18 years with the force.
“It’s been an issue since then, it was an issue way before then, it just hasn’t gone away and the association has been talking to minister for a long time,” he said.