OPINION: Police or politicians? We’re fed up with spin

Deputy Commissioner Regional Field Operations Gary Worboys with forum chairperson, Mayor Neil Smith. Picture: Madeleine Clarke
Deputy Commissioner Regional Field Operations Gary Worboys with forum chairperson, Mayor Neil Smith. Picture: Madeleine Clarke

When Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys fronted a room of Junee residents recently, he knew he was in for some tough questions. 

People from the country have a way of telling it to you straight. 

It’s a quality sorely lacking in the upper echelons of the force at the moment. 

While details on the merge of 42 metropolitan LACs to 32 were announced in early October, it was suspiciously quiet on the home front. 

Rumours continue to circulate about Deniliquin/Griffith, Cootamundra/Wagga and Mudgee/Dubbo mergers. 

Opponents have criticised the government for withholding the announcement until after the Murray and Cootamundra by-elections.

Whether it is a case of dotting all is and crossing all ts or the delay is as politically motivated as critics of the National Party claim, keeping regional areas in the dark is not a good move. 

It perpetuates the very same attitude the force claim they are trying to address in these reforms. 

It’s a city first, country second attitude, leaving both our respected policemen and women as well as residents hanging. 

After the forum, a number of attendees complained of “non-committal answers” to many of their questions. 

Asked byFairfax Media for detail on mergers, Worboys continued to skirt around putting a timeline on an announcement. 

Meanwhile, local police worry about their futures and families and Junee residents worry about how 480 additional maximum security beds at the jail will impact on police resourcing in their area. 

These are legitimate fears, born out of tiresome spin and hazy detail. 

People are sick and tired of having the wool being pulled over their eyes dressed up as “consultation”. 

The police restructure has been politicised by all sides of the camp.

The Shooters tried to use fear to their advantage, with the bulk of Stadtmiller’s campaign focused on government secrecy surrounding the cuts

What could better pour cold water over fear than cutting through the spin and announcing, once and for all, how these reforms will effect our region? 

While it’s good to see high-profile leaders front up to hear local concerns, it would be even better to see them acted upon.