The Commander of the region’s police force says it is not possible to fill all staff vacancies.
Politicians and the police union are angry that none of the 130-recruits who just graduated from the Goulburn Academy will be sent to the north coast.
They say there is a chronic shortfall in staff numbers in the region and the issue needs urgent action.
But Assistant Commissioner Carleen York says staffing levels on the north coast are running at about 80-percent.
“You always have police on leave, sick leave or holiday and things like that, so I don’t know that we’ve ever realised 100% non-vacancy rates with police on the streets.” Asst Comm York said.
“We look at how we roster and we’re resourced accordingly, but when it gets below 80% that becomes an issue and we really start to focus on it – a couple of those areas in the region do have 80% so they’re certainly at the forefront of my mind,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Clarence MP Steve Cansdell says the ratio of people to police on the north coast is well above the state average.
He says a shortage of front-line officers leads to long response times when crimes are reported.
“When you’ve got the ration of one police officer for every 500 across the state, on the north coast you’ve got one for 700, in the Clarence you’ve got one for a thousand, in the Lower Clarence it’s one to 1500, come holiday times there’s one police officer for every 2200 people,” Mr Cansdell said.
“I mean that’s just ridiculous,” he said.