A GOVERNMENT MP has raised fears about a loss of local decision-making in the Upper Hunter under mooted changes as part of a police restructure.
As part of the restructure, top brass are considering moving boundaries and centralising management, with Hunter Valley, Port Stephens and Central Hunter local area commands set to be affected.
Among the proposals which the Newcastle Herald understands is under consideration includes splitting the Hunter Valley command in two, with Scone and surrounds to be absorbed by the Tamworth-based Oxley command. The other half would be taken in by the Maitland-based Central Hunter.
The move is seen as a mechanism to boost front line police.
However, the restructure has been criticised by Upper Hunter Nationals MP Michael Johnsen, who said “we need a senior officer, who is experienced, based in Muswellbrook.”
“There is a restructuring going on – and the whole reason for the reshuffle is to get more coppers in the bush,” Mr Johnsen told Fairfax Media.
“My only issue there is, looking at the LAC structure, the Hunter Valley LAC needs to be continued to be based in the Upper Hunter.
“Decisions need to be made here in the Upper Hunter.”
Hunter Valley police were briefed about the potential changes this week.
And the Upper Hunter MP also launched a survey about the restructure on his website.
However, Northern Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell said a decision was yet to be made.
“Part of the NSW Police Force re-engineering process includes looking at opportunities to consolidate local area commands,” he said.
“This does not mean disbanded. Hunter Valley is a command that is being considered for consolidation. As part of any process, the Deputy Commissioner and myself are committed to ensuring appropriate consultation occurs with police and local communities.”