A former Hunter cop wants West Wallsend's police station reopened, almost two decades after the state government closed its doors.
Greg Clark and his wife Jodie started a petition earlier this year to have a police station re-established in the suburb amid a perceived increase in anti-social behaviour.
The petition has gathered more than 1100 signatures so far and the pair hope Cessnock MP Clayton Barr will table it in NSW Parliament later this year, by which time they expect to have about 1200 names behind them.
According to NSW Parliamentary rules, the relevant minister must respond to any petition that contains more than 500 signatures within 35 days of it being lodged.
But only petitions with at least 10,000 signatures can be debated on the floor of the lower house.
Mr Clark, who worked as a general duties officer at Cessnock between 1987 and 1996, said the population of West Wallsend and surrounds had grown significantly since the state government closed the station in 2001 and sold it to a private owner in 2006.
He believes a regular police presence will strike a blow to the dangerous driving, vandalism and break-ins he says are being increasingly experienced in the area.
Mr Clark said the petition was not necessarily calling for the original premises to be bought back and reopened, nor did the community expect a 24-hour police station in the suburb.
But he believed the support for the petition showed that the West Wallsend community wanted a permanent police presence.
"A probationary constable on a bicycle would be better than what we've got," he said.
"We're isolated, the population has exploded with housing developments.
"Our nearest police are at Toronto and Morisset - it's just not good enough.
"People back in the late 40s early 50s fought pretty tenaciously to get that built. There's a need out here for it."
According to Lake Macquarie City Council's online history archive, the first police station was established at West Wallsend in 1889.
But construction of the purpose-built facility on the corner of South Street and Withers Street was completed in September, 1951.
The Newcastle Herald understands the former station is now a rental residential property.
Meanwhile, Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery has repeated her call for more police resources for Newcastle's western suburbs in recent days, citing a spike in car fires particularly in the Shortland area.
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