Critical police shortage in Camden and Wollondilly

Kayla Osborne
Severe staff shortages have forced Camden police officers to ramp up industrial action which could cause serious delays in response times.
Understaffing has caused police to move to level three industrial action which is ‘work to rule’.
‘Work to rule’ means officers will respond to calls in the order they receive them, unless there is a life-threatening emergency.
Police will fully complete the work required at each scene then move onto the next call.
NSW Police Association president Scott Weber said officers were unanimous, but reluctant, in their decision.
“Instead of what we are doing right now, going from job to job where police are building up several jobs and staying back at the end of their shift completing paperwork, they will complete each job in its entirety,” he said.
“If someone is at risk of being hurt or harmed police will attend straight away, they are not putting anybody’s safety in jeopardy.
“What they are doing is highlighting to the local community, the local member of parliament and NSW Police that they are critically understaffed and they need more police officers.”
Mr Weber said local officers felt their appeals to police hierarchy and politicans had fallen on deaf ears.
“They wanted NSW Police to solve this problem last year,” he said.
“Senior police, community members, politicians and the police hierarchy all know that Camden needs more police. What we want is a common sense approach with more officers put in Camden to help protect the community.”
Mr Weber said a large number of police officers were needed in the region to cope with population growth.
“What we have seen, especially over the past couple of weeks, is an increase in workload, a lot of jobs and long response times,” he said.
“We’ve seen issues at the Oaks and with the Picton station being closed.
“There needs to be double figures in the number of officers coming out here to Camden to make sure they can not only respond to people’s calls for assistance, but also look at stations that have been closed.
“We know this is one of the biggest growing areas in NSW – it just seems ludicrous they don’t have adequate staff.”
The Police Association has pushed for state police numbers to increase along with the rate of population growth.
Mr Weber said the association had asked for 247 extra police in NSW each year.
“Let’s do some preventative stuff to not only deal with the crime today but to prevent it in the future,” he said.
“We’ve just seen the issues in Melbourne, offenders on bail, terrorism, cyber crime, ice – we all know these are problems that are not only occurring today, but are going to occur in the future.”
He said police cared deeply about the Wollondilly and Camden communities.
“A lot of the officers here at the Camden branch are members of the community, they live and work in the same area,” he said.
“They are fighting for extra police officers so they can look after themselves and the local community.”

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