Community unrest at Police Station site selection in Lemon Tree Passage

Doreen Bradley OAM.

 

“IF the police property section knew the background to the proposed new station in Tilligerry, they would think twice about their decision to site one in Lemon Tree Passage.”

These are the words of long time campaigner Doreen Bradley and reflect the sentiments of the vast majority of residents.

Doreen provided News Of The Area with some background on policing in the local area.

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“The best policing we ever had was when we had a resident officer who was left alone to do his job,“ she mused.

“You could ring him at any hour of the day or night and he’d be on the spot immediately for serious offences,” she said. “One officer was even known to turn up to a crime scene in his pyjamas with his gun!” she added.

Doreen said this changed when a new commissioner centralized control of local police operations in Maitland.

“If our local officer received an emergency call at night, he would phone Maitland to ‘clock on’ and was told not to respond as the incident would be ‘prioritised’.

“This meant that a couple of officers would arrive a day or so later.

“The system just collapsed with crime running rampant,” she said.

Doreen said her community came together to try and improve policing in the local area, in response to a perceived drop in standards.

“This community ran a relentless campaign to get policing back on track and it worked,” she said.

”We started our own ‘buy a cop’ initiative which went viral nationwide in the media and ‘A Current Affair’ was in town twice.

“We also conducted a very effective Crime Forum,” she added.

“These actions put pressure on the Minister and the Commissioner to the extent that the new Port Stephens Command was established and things improved,” she asserted.

It was then that talk began of the development of a new police station in Tanilba Bay.

“The overwhelming push out this way was to see a new station built in RAF Park Tanilba Bay and two permanent officers appointed,” Doreen said.

“We now find that the police have wasted $500 000 buying an old house in LTP.

“It is riddled with asbestos.

“They plan to demolish it and dump a prefabricated ‘dog box’ station on the site.

“It just won’t work,” she said.

Doreen said the police should be working with the community to come to the best possible outcome.

“Considering what we’ve done over the years to improve policing it is insulting to us to be treated with utter contempt.
“Policing is about working with communities, not against them.

“They haven’t heard the last from us, not by a long chalk,” she concluded.

Port Stephens Councillor and Crime Forum member Cr Steve Tucker echoed Doreen’s concerns.

“They know of the Council’s offer to give them the RAF Park site but have refused to engage with the community on the issue,” he said.

“All the community got was a staged media release outside the current rented premises in Lemon Tree Passage and they then disappeared,” he stated.

“The police property section and the minister have made themselves items of ridicule by the general public.

“Crime is no longer the problem at the moment.

A huge problem has been created by those responsible for the logistics and administration,” he added.

 

By GEOFF WALKER

 

Steve Tucker.

 

The current rented station in LTP.

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