Minister says police presence the key, not station

IN THE HOT SEAT: Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres gets a firsthand look inside a police car and at its new equipment with Shoalhaven Local Area Commander, Superintendent Joe Cassar during his visit.

IN THE HOT SEAT: Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres gets a firsthand look inside a police car and at its new equipment with Shoalhaven Local Area Commander, Superintendent Joe Cassar during his visit.

A NEW police station in central Shoalhaven is still on the state government’s radar but it may not be in Sanctuary Point, according to Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres, who also said the future of the Huskisson station was under review.

The minister was in the Shoalhaven on Thursday visiting the Shoalhaven Fire Control Centre, touring the new RFS Crossroads station and meeting with local police.

He also launched a new initiative by Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock – Reporting Crime “It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” – a brochure to encourage and assist local residents in reporting crime.

The minister said he was reviewing the region including the long talked about police station for Sanctuary Point.

“Building a police station in Sanctuary Point is not the real issue, for me the key thing is the presence of police in the area, not a station,” he said.

“The issue is how do we get the best police coverage in Sanctuary Point as well as not compromising other areas in the command?

“We have a station at Huskisson that’s old, tired and dated – there is no point sugar-coating it.

“I want to talk to police about what is the best place to locate services. 

“Ultimately, the best location for police stations is to get a presence across the region. Whether that is at Sanctuary Point, Vincentia or Huskisson, I want to have a look and greater assessment of numbers before we make decisions.

“It is about where we task police officers. It is not police stations or fire stations that fight crime or fires; it is police officers or fire fighters.

“It’s about having the ability to get people quickly to locations and if that means putting a station at Sanctuary Point we will definitely consider that. It’s a big area and we want to have stations located in right place.

“We are looking at the future of Huskisson and that may be the catalyst for any future decisions about relocations.”

Mrs Hancock said neither she nor the government promised a new police station for Sanctuary Point.

“I have never committed to a new station. I have talked about it a lot, it is still on my list of priorities but it is important we consider the growing area central Shoalhaven is and the need for a police station in the future,” she said.

“When the government can afford that I’m not privy to.

“I will continue to lobby for it and make sure we have adequate numbers of police in the Shoalhaven and I’m proud of the job local police do.

“Yes we need a police station somewhere in the future in the central Shoalhaven and I hope it is sooner rather than later.”

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