Police job cuts beggar belief | Editorial

Cutting jobs to improve services: It’s the sort of bureaucratic nonsense that we’ve sadly become used to from governments at all levels. But when it comes to cutting some of the most-experienced, most-needed jobs in our region, we’re justified in our scepticism.

Wagga police commander Bob Noble.

Wagga police commander Bob Noble.

How on earth can we expect our police, the people on the front line of our war on crime, to do the best job they can if we take away some of the most experienced officers? Sure, it’s hard to imagine Superintendent Bob Noble jumping a fence and chasing down a shoplifter, but he’s got years of vital knowledge that’s arguably of more use than a few extra bodies on the ground.

If there’s a problem with the police budget, there’s a simple solution: The whopping $4.5 billion surplus NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet revealed last month. Surely this is a situation where we should want to have our cake and eat it too. Keep the experienced cops at the top and bring in new blood to bolster the ranks.

It’s doubtful anyone in the Riverina believes the claims that getting rid of the senior cops will actually put officers back into Junee, Coolamon, Narrandera or Ardlethan, not to mention further west, where the phone rings off the hook because the nearest policeman is hundreds of kilometres away.

Police Minister Troy Grant ought to know better. After all, he was a cop himself for 22 years, serving right across the state. But now, at a time when we’re faced with an insidious drug like ice that’s arguably cheaper than alcohol, we’re getting the same old government nonsense. 

Troy Grant talks about “re-engineering” the police force. Well here’s some basic engineering for you Mr Grant, something even kids with Lego kits understand: If you pull out the most important structural pieces, don’t be shocked when it all falls apart.

One third of the people of NSW live outside of Sydney, but who wants to wager on whether the fat cats in Parramatta experience proportional cuts and “staffing increases”? The reality is more likely to be a cut from country areas with a token rise in probationary constables.

By no means should any of this be taken as a slight on our hard-working police officers, who deserve parades and pay rises for the amount of rubbish they deal with on a daily basis. 

But cutting the wisdom, relationships and leadership out of our protectors? It’ll be like attempting the Gumi without a paddle.

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