Decision on merger of Dubbo and Mudgee police due in coming weeks

Still waiting: Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says an announcement on the re-engineering of regional Local Area Commands is due soon. Photo: AAP IMAGE/ DAN HIMBRECHTS
Still waiting: Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says an announcement on the re-engineering of regional Local Area Commands is due soon. Photo: AAP IMAGE/ DAN HIMBRECHTS

Police officers in Dubbo and Mudgee are no closer to knowing if their Local Area Commands (LAC) will be merged, with no decision about regional commands announced by NSW Police.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller confirmed on Friday 18 metro commands will be amalgamated into nine, with less commanding officers and more boots on the ground his ultimate goal.

It is understood similar plans are in place for regional NSW, with 11 country LACs rumoured to be merged into seven.

Mr Fuller was asked about regional commands while unveiling the framework for metropolitan areas but said that announcement would be made in the coming weeks, and would be different to the city scheme.

Acting Public Service Association (PSA) General Secretary Troy Wright said the PSA had long heard "whispers" about mergers in metropolitan and regional areas, which it feared would lead to a loss of civilian jobs.

"We were only informed this week that a formal announcement would be made about metropolitan mergers, but on regional areas we are still in the dark," he said.

The PSA considers the country amalgamation rumours "most concerning to public safety" as mergers in both metropolitan and regional areas could potentially lead to cuts in the civilian police force, meaning uniformed police spent more time behind the desk and less out in the community.

"I would only be speculating but what we keep hearing is Cootamundra merging with Wagga Wagga and Mudgee with Dubbo. There is a risk those areas become so large they cease to be local.

Mr Wright said he assumed the decision may have been made to split announcements about metropolitan and regional restructures because of the Cootamundra and Murray byelections.

A spokesperson for Police Minister Troy Grant said it was "entirely false to suggest that police services will be reduced in any way" as a result of any structural changes.

"It is in no way about cutting officer numbers. Commissioner Fuller is leading this important reform and has the support of Government in its implementation," she said.

Local police and communities across NSW will be consulted on any potential changes as the re-engineering continues, she said.

"The process of re-engineering is designed to place more frontline officers where we need them the most. It's about giving the people of NSW a police force that is flexible, nimble and prepared to face the changing and evolving crime landscape in NSW."