Plateau police-less state
IT'S long been a frustration in Alstonville the community has its own police station, but no police in it.
A petition, launched about a month ago, calling for two police officers to be stationed at Alstonville has already attracted 700 signatures.
Alstonville Newsagency owner Ray Smith said there hadn't been a permanent police presence in Alstonville for about five years.
He also said the two police officers promised in February had been posted to the station but were on leave. A police spokesperson confirmed that was still the case.
Last month, a police spokesperson advised residents to phone Ballina police station, which was just 10 minutes away, and also said regular patrols were being conducted at Alstonville.
Mr Smith disputed the claim that it would only take police 10 minutes to drive from Ballina, and also said the regular patrols had not been very regular.
"It's frustrating," he said.
Mr Smith has been in Alstonville for five years, and said he had noticed an increase in crime in that time.
The nature of his business means he and his staff were on the streets in the early hours of the morning.
He said the problems in Alstonville went from hoons driving on the streets, graffiti and vandalism, through to more serious crimes, including the recent alleged attack on a woman in a carpark.
"There's nothing better than having police on the streets," he said.
He began campaigning to have police at Alstonville simply because of the number of comments about incidents he hears.
This is all old news for Bob Wilson, who led the Citizens Organising Plateau Police Services (COPPS) campaign in the late 1990s.
He said that campaign led to two officers being stationed at Alstonville, but their presence didn't last long.
He said the Plateau communities of Alstonville and Wollongbar had a total population of about 12,000, which justified a permanent police presence.
He claimed police statistics probably don't show a real picture of the crime on the Plateau as residents know there aren't any police, so they don't bother to report incidents.
Mr Wilson, as a member of the Alstonville RSL Sub-Branch, recently reported a vandal attack on the RSL hall in Bugden Ave.