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NSW ups Redfern police resources

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 16 July 2004


New South Wales Police Minister John Watkins has announced extra resources for Redfern, but denies it is an attempt to avert strike action by police.

Officers in the Sydney suburb had given the State Government a deadline of Friday to meet their demands for increased staff and resources.

An extra 56 officers will be moved into Redfern - mostly from other commands - and there will be a 12 month ban on probationary officers to raise the level of experience.

There will be an extra 10 officers allocated to investigate drug crime and robbery, and more officers for visibility policing around Redfern station.

Mr Watkins had denied the Government is jumping the gun on the inquiry into the death of Redfern teenager Thomas Hickey, which has been adjourned until August.

"There will be recommendations that come from the coroner and also from the Upper House's inquiry and due consideration and action will be given to those recommendations," he said.

The Police Association says the Government's announcement is an overdue, but says it is a welcome response to the difficulties police face.

Spokesman Bob Pritchard says they will consider the changes at a meeting on Monday.

"It certainly has addressed some of the propositions that they've put forward," he said.

"We've got to realise that it's not only a policing issue here in Redfern - a number of other services are required to really pick up their act so we can help the Redfern community."

The leader of the eradication team, Ben Hoffman, says the project will depend on the efforts of traditional owners.

Mr Hoffmann says the local knowledge of traditional owners will be vital when searching for ant strongholds.

"The project would not be proceeding without the approval of the traditional owners and the local Yolngu people," he said.

"It is the Yolngu people who are conducting the majority of the work out there and not individual government organisations."


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