Details of proposed regional police Local Area Commands have ‘not been delayed’

Orange police station.
Orange police station.

The top cop for regional NSW visited Orange police station on Friday as the prospect of mergers between Local Area Commands (LAC) creates doubt among rank-and-file officers over staffing levels.

Canobolas LAC’s commander Superintendent Shane Cribb confirmed Deputy Commissioner for regional field operations Gary Worboys visited the city.

He declined to comment on the purpose of the visit or whether mergers were discussed.

Earlier this week, Deputy Commissioner Worboys and NSW Police Minister Troy Grant rejected suggestions that detail about LAC mergers was being delayed because of two state byelections this weekend.

NSW Police Force's Deputy Commissioner for regional field operations Gary Worboys.

NSW Police Force's Deputy Commissioner for regional field operations Gary Worboys.

Orange MP Phil Donato has accused the government of delaying decisions, which he says are being carried out for cost-cutting.

There is speculation Canobolas LAC will merge with Lachlan LAC which is based around Parkes and Forbes.

Deputy Commissioner Warboys and Mr Grant said the re-engineering was a substantial project that couldn’t be rushed, and was being conducted separately to the metropolitan restructure announced by Commissioner Mick Fuller last week.

“I have been progressively visiting police stations across NSW, meeting with officers and administrative staff, speaking with various level of government and simply talking to people I meet in those towns. I will continue to meet with commands and communities across regional NSW,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.

“I appreciate there is a degree of concern among police, staff and the community but consultation is an important process. 

“No decisions have been finalised for regional NSW, and an announcement will be made following this step in the coming weeks.”

Mr Grant did not respond to speculation on a merger of Mudgee and Orana LACs.

He did say the government was working with Commissioner Fuller to implement the reform and reiterated a previous comment the restructure was about “putting more boots on the ground where they’re needed”.

Mr Donato has been a strong critic of the reforms and on Wednesday, said he had seen a document showing “imminent jobs losses and relocation of staff which would occur following consolidating of regional LACs”.

He said he had been contacted by concerned officers at Orange, Parkes, Forbes, Mudgee, Young, Cowra and Cootamundra.