Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Police OT Worst in State North Coast Police OT Worst in State

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Police OT Worst in State North Coast Police OT Worst in State

Article excerpt

Byline: Belinda Scott

COFFS Harbour and Grafton region has been identified as having the largest bill for overtime of any of the State's police commands for the 2009-2010 financial year, but things may be about to improve.

Officers in the Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command clocked up 7166 hours of overtime last year at a cost of $388,000, an average cost of just over $54 an hour.

But Superintendent Mark Holahan says Coffs Harbour has seen a steady reduction in overtime worked by police in the past couple of months.

aI hope that will continue,a the Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command Superintendent said.

aWe are starting to punch our way through the figures and we are starting to see a lot more new faces in the Coffs Harbour station.

aCoffs Harbour is getting three new general duties police on May 17 and there are more to come in June.

aWe received four (new officers) in January and two of those went to Coffs Harbour; we have six extra detectives in Coffs and there are another two detectives to come in January (2012).a

Mr Holahan said the overtime problem in the command was not due to short-term sick leave issues, with local figures there a[approximately]pretty good' but to operational capacity issues related to the long-term sick list.

Staff on this list are officially listed as part of the strength of the local police force but are not able to be replaced until they either leave work permanently or are rehabilitated back into the workforce.

Mr Holahan said Coffs/Clarence LAC had an older demographic than most other commands and undoubtedly people had moved to the North Coast because of its very good lifestyle.

Six of the 10 commands with the highest number of overtime hours in 2009/10 are coastal commands, with Tweed/Byron, Richmond, Shoalhaven, Far South Coast and Newcastle all in the top 10.

All 10 are regional commands with Barrier LAC, based at Broken Hill; Oxley LAC based at Tamworth and Orana LAC, based on Dubbo chasing Coffs Clarence in the overtime list. …

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