Kids at risk
Police Association calls for specialist police
A severe lack of police resources is leaving the region’s children at risk, according to Police Association of NSW executive member Roger Campton.
Mr Campton said known child sex offenders are going unmonitored for extended periods of time, and even being lost from the system entirely.
He said while he cannot reveal specific details relating to the Murray River Police District due to the sensitivity of the crime, it was affecting the duties of police stationed locally.
The Police Association of NSW is calling for an urgent increase in the number of police to investigate child sex offences and additional police to monitor people on the child protection register – the list of convicted child sex offenders living in our communities.
Mr Campton said in order to ensure the safety of our children, the minimum standard should be one police officer dedicated to monitoring every 30 offenders.
He said at the moment, responsibility to monitor those on the child protection register falls to local police, who are already stretched to capacity.
It is undertaken on a part-time, ad-hoc basis while conducting other serious investigations.
‘‘In the region, we need an additional 20 police in our local commands to ensure we can monitor those on the Child Protection Register properly,’’ Mr Campton said.
‘‘We know there are more than 4000 offenders on the Child Protection Register statewide, and around 595 in our Southern region, but only a fraction of those are monitored regularly due to the fact that we simply don’t have enough police to do the job.
‘‘We know we need a ratio of one dedicated full-time officer to every 30 offenders to be able to proactively manage paedophiles on the list.
‘‘The legislation in this area is strong. Police have the powers to actively monitor and stop these offenders targeting our children, but we just don’t have the resources to do it properly.
‘‘The child protection register is our way of keeping an eye on these grubs, to prevent reoffending, and to protect our kids.
‘‘The officers who do this work day in and day out are stretched to capacity, often with one or two officers managing in excess of 100 convicted offenders.’’
The Police Association of NSW says we also urgently need more detectives in the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad which responds to offences committed upon our children.
‘‘At present, detectives in these squads are stretched beyond capacity, dealing with the 9527 reports that require 4583 investigations every year,’’ Mr Campton said.
These latest demands from the Police Association come just weeks after it called on more police to target the ice epidemic across the state, and particularly in the Murray River Police District.
Mr Campton said the association still has had no response to this request.
‘‘At this stage there has ben no progress on staffing numbers, but the Police Commissioner is doing a review,’’ Mr Campton said.
‘‘The Commissioner would then need to go to the government, but what we’re trying to say is that we need something to change now.’’
According to data collected from the Bureau of Meteorology at Tocumwal, the river height was at 2.77m on October 6.
At the time of going to print yesterday the river level had risen to 2.83m.
Billabong Creek was at 0.27m on October 6 and despite a few dips, the height was still 0.27m at the time of going to print.