Fairfield and Cabramatta Local Area Commands will merge in the biggest restructure to the NSW Police Force in 20 years designed to place more “frontline” officers on the ground.
In the Sydney metropolitan area, the 42 Local Area Commands would be consolidated into 32 new “Police Area Commands”, ending 20 years of the Local Area Command name.
The consolidation of Fairfield and Cabramatta LACs will be known as Fairfield City Police Area Command.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced the re-engineering of the NSW Police Force on Friday saying it will “futureproof” the force for the changing nature of crime.
He said the current local area commander model was “inflexible”.
“The dream for any commissioner is to have a flexible workforce; to have a workforce that responds quickly not just to community needs but the changing crime trends,” he said.
“It’s a model that puts a lot more police in our DV teams, criminal investigation units and general duties.
“We know that the model improves response times for the community but above all in these consolidated commands it is a real greenfields site to future proof the community.”
In 2013, NSW Police consolidated eight commands to four including at St George and Ryde,
“We know this model works. We know that it does flatten the management structure, but the government has allowed me to convert any savings into more police on the ground,” Commissioner Fuller said.
A NSW Police spokesman said no decision had been made on whether stations would close as part of the restructure which is expected to be completed by May.
Commissioner Fuller said a “flexible workforce”had been on his agenda since day one.
“A large aspect of re-engineering is putting more police back on the frontline and a flexible workforce is a good outcome for the community,” he said.
“Over the past six months the NSW Police Force has been widely consulting with stakeholders including the Police Association of NSW, Public Service Association and the community.”
Fairfield MP and Shadow Police Minister Guy Zangari has been vocal in his opposition to the restructure saying Fairfield LAC and Cabramatta LAC “already struggle” to operate with an understrength force.
He has met with concerned local residents in the past month.
“We’ll be keeping a close eye on the amalgamated area command to ensure it has all the resources it requires,” he said. “The Fairfield LGA is incredibly diverse and its needs are unique as the community itself. We stand firmly behind our local Police Force and don’t want to see any diminishment in the staff or support services offered from our LAC.”
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. “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.”
The spokesperson said local police and communities across NSW will be consulted on any potential changes as the re-engineering continues.
Other new Police Area Commands include Liverpool City (a consolidation of Liverpool and Green Valley).