Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent will seek a meeting with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to discuss the lack of police in the Cessnock local government area.
Cessnock Council wrote to police minister Troy Grant in October last year to raise its concerns about the re-engineering of the NSW Police Force, which eventually saw Cessnock and Kurri Kurri moved into the Hunter Valley Command in January.
The council called for Cessnock and Kurri Kurri to remain in the Maitland-based Central Hunter Command, and that Greta and Branxton be moved into the same command, with the distance from the Hunter Valley Command’s headquarters at Muswellbrook, response times and extra demand on resources among its concerns.
In a response via Cessnock MP Clayton Barr, Mr Grant said he was unable to meet with Cr Pynsent at the time, but he was “confident the re-engineering of the NSW Police Force will provide our community with the tailored policing services it deserves”.
Cr Pynsent said he feels the restructure is not working out the way people would have hoped, and that he would take his concerns directly to the Premier.
He said this week’s news that Cessnock has the second-worst rate of car theft in NSW was the “tipping point”.
“It’s going the wrong way,” he said.
“Stolen and abandoned vehicles are everywhere.”
Cr Pynsent said the Cessnock LGA (including Cessnock, Kurri Kurri and Greta-Branxton), with 56,000 residents, should have the highest proportion of police in the command.
“I’ve heard 60 percent of the jobs are coming out of the Cessnock LGA, yet we haven’t got 60 percent of the resources,” he said.
“We need detectives on the ground.”