| 20.12,11. 05:03 PM |
Highway patrols now separate from LACs
December 20, 2011
POLICE Minister Mike Gallacher has authorised the separation of highway patrols from the existing local area command structure as part of his deconstruction of the state's policing model.
Mr Gallacher, who worked briefly as a highway patrolman, has now delivered on his list of pre-election promises after eight-months in office.
"The NSW Government believe that having more police out on the roads is the best deterrent to dangerous driving," Mr Gallacher said.
"One of the key changes is the removal of Local Area Commands boundaries for the purposes of deploying Highway Patrol Officers.
"Road tragedy has no boundaries and that is why the Government has decided we need to move away from the LAC based approach to Highway Patrol deployment."
Mr Gallacher said the new highway command would be headed by Assistant Commissioner John Hartley.
"Our new structure will still ensure that officers are available to attend to urgent or life-threatening situations, but there should be less diversion of highway patrol officers to general duties," he said.
"Many highway patrol officers will continue to be physically located in LAC's, but their taskings will now be coordinated by the new traffic and highway patrol command instead of by LACs."
To support the new highway patrol command, Mr Gallacher has authorised 100 additional officers and 50 new vehicles.
Mr Gallacher said the new highway patrol command would see fewer officers being diverted to general duties and promote a strategic approach to the deployment of patrol cars.
The announcement comes a week after he released the 22 recommendations from the police resources audit completed by retired Assistant Commissioner Peter Parsons.
The Parsons audit called for the abolishment of the LAC structure, which was established 15-years-ago.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione last week authorised the deployment of a record two-thirds of recruits from the graduating December class to regional outposts after years of neglect.
Mr Scipione said he had worked with senior police in recent months to ensure that the command was in place before the busy Christmas period.
"We trialled this new command operational structure over the Easter long weekend and following evaluation of this trial we are now in a position to make the structure permanent," Mr Scipione said.
"Staff consultation will start immediately, but will occur in earnest after the completion of the two major Christmas and holiday road safety traffic operations in December and January."
Mr Scipione said the new model would allow LACs to log road safety issues and seek additional highway patrol assistance as required.
The highway patrol command will be fully operational by 2014.