Camden Police Area Command is in urgent need of extra detectives to target serious crimes like local drug supply operations.
That’s the message from the Police Association of NSW.
The association has begun a campaign to secure an extra 20 police officers at the command, including detectives and general duties sergeants as a matter of urgency.
Rod Sheraton, organiser for the association’s south-west metro region, said the additional police allocated to the command – which covers the Camden and Wollondilly regions – in the past year was not enough to sustain the growing region.
The Camden police command was allocated an additional 10 frontline officers in March last year, following industrial action.
However, Mr Sheraton said those numbers were a short-term solution.
“It was a good win for the command, but it was more of a catch-up solution,” he said.
“The problem at Camden is they weren’t given any additional general duties sergeants or detectives.”
Mr Sheraton said the lack of higher level officers prevented the command from being as proactive as they would like to be.
He said there was a desperate need for coordinated approaches to tackle some of the region’s bigger crimes.
“They need detectives to do things like proactively investigate drugs in the area, drug supply and distribution,” Mr Sheraton said.
“A lack of detectives has an impact on their ability to set up and run operations.
“The same applies for series of thefts.
“Our police would like to get out in front of these issues, but they can’t because they’re constantly having to be reactive rather than proactive.”
Mr Sheraton said that because Camden operated with minimal general duties sergeants (supervisors), those who were on duty often found themselves competing dual roles.
He said officers who were tasked with guarding prisoners would frequently have to complete other tasks at the same time to keep up with their workload.
“Often we have staff coming in on their days off just to finish their work,” Mr Sheraton said.
“These officers are overworked, they’re stressed and they cannot keep this up as the region continues to grow.
“It’s not an easy job at the best of times, let alone when you’re overworked.”