There should be police officers in the Hunter whose sole job is to monitor convicted pedophiles on the child protection register, the union representing the state’s police says.
According to the NSW Police Association, there should be one officer to monitor 30 registered people – but the current ratio is about one per 100.
In the Hunter, the union’s executive member for the northern region Ian Allwood said, there were no police whose job was only dedicated to monitoring people on the watch-list. He said general duties police or detectives were monitoring registered offenders on top of their other duties.
"It shouldn't be either or, it's a very vital role,” Mr Allwood said.
“The last thing we want to see is an innocent child harmed by a registered person not actively monitored by police.
“It’s a huge issue for our community.”
The Newcastle Herald understands about 1100 of the 4000 people on the register across the state are in the northern region, which stretches from the Central Coast to the NSW-Queensland border.
Mr Allwood said Newcastle and Port Stephens-Hunter police districts each needed four dedicated officers while Hunter Valley required three.
It comes after Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery raised the issue in parliament on Tuesday.
Ms Hornery said officers monitoring people on the register were already being stretched by their workload.
“The work is often undertaken on a part-time, ad-hoc basis, while police are conducting other serious investigations,” she said.
“Police have the powers to actively monitor and stop offenders targeting our children, but they just don’t have the resources to do it properly. It’s time to resource our police properly so we can keep our children safe.”
The police union has also called for a boost in staff numbers for the state’s child exploitation internet unit, which monitors and polices child grooming and the sharing of exploitative material online.
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