The Cowra branch of the Police Association of NSW (PANSW) want assurances regarding the positions offered to them at the Cowra station in writing before accepting any offer.
The Association met with Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie today regarding the Cowra station staffing issues.
PANSW Western Region Organiser Rod Sheraton said the branch and Mr McKechnie spoke about the current offer of Cowra receiving three probationary constables and concerns around the long term security of the positions promised to them.
Mr Sheraton said the branch had been given some assurances by Mr McKechnie but the branch wanted them in writing within the next 24 hours for their consideration.
“The concern of the branch is mainly around the training of those probationary constables,” he said.
“I think we are getting to the position where the branch are going to consider that option and they may be trained at a place like Bathurst for their first six weeks before moving to Cowra.
“Part of their concern last week was certainly around the long term security of the positions, they’re over strength training positions and there was a fear from the branch that those positions would be lost down the track and we’d be back where we are now,” he said.
Mr Sheraton said the police association is asking for 2500 extra police across the state in the next term of government and that Mr McKechnie had, “given us some guarantees and assurances” that the probationary constable positions would remain until the extra police were received and were allocated to Cowra.
“We spoke about those positions remaining attached to Cowra as over strength training positions until the additional positions in the NSW police force were found to be allocated here permanently,” he said.
“What was highlighted is that it’s not acceptable in a place the size of Cowra for a member of the community to come to the front door of the police station to be served, get advice or report a crime and not be able to enter the police station.
“The branch feels with the amount of police here at the moment that they couldn’t train bulk probationary constables at once and it would be better for the probationers to get that training for the first six week period at Bathurst where they have more staff and are able to give the training they need.
“What they are asking for is some security around the positions they’ve been offered that those positions will remain here until the SAP positions from NSW Police are allocated to Cowra,” he said.
Mr Sheraton said the branch was frustrated but had been negotiating with NSW Police.
“We came into the meeting today really wanting to get something concrete organised,” he said.
“But at the end of the day we’ve given them 24 hours to put something in writing, about what was discussed today, and we are hoping we can come to a resolution.
“The police here are frustrated, they are the busiest police in the whole of western region per officer and per workload. They’ve been putting up with this for some time. They just want to get on and do their work and serve the community.”
Mr Sheraton said the Cowra branch thanked the community for their support during this process, but stressed that all options including industrial action were still on the table if the branch rejected the new proposal.
“Nothing has been accepted at the moment, we are waiting for something in writing, once we’ve got that the branch will consider its position,” he said.
“If they don’t accept the offer in the way it’s worded the branch will meet again to consider their options.
“We’ve spoken about industrial action, the police don’t want the community to be in danger, so I don’t think we’ll talk about striking.
“But we are talking about all different options, infringement notices not being issued, maybe only working one job at a time, we don’t know. At this stage we are hoping for a resolution,” he said.