A Police Association newsletter warns that some stations could be left short-staffed by the scale of the operation planned for an anti-gas protest at Bentley in northern New South Wales.
Metgasco is drilling for conventional gas at the site, and says it will not be fracking during the operation, due to begin next week.
The company has faced fierce opposition from the local community with thousands converging at the site at times.
The police union’s newsletter raises concerns about police Operation Stapler, saying the planning needed for an operation of its magnitude had been rushed.
Speculation about the police response has spiralled in recent days.
Last week the State Opposition raised concerns in parliament about reports up to 800 officers would be sent to the test-drilling site when work begins.
The Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and the State Government have so far refused to comment on those numbers, saying it is an operational issue.
The Police Media Unit has issued a statement confirming an operation is planned to take place at Bentley to both facilitate a lawful protest and ensure normal operations at the gas exploration site.
The statement says the NSW Police Force recognises and supports the rights of individuals and groups to exercise their rights of free speech and peaceful assembly in a safe environment.
However police will be forced to take action if those activities become unlawful.
Labor’s spokesman for Police, Michael Daley, says the union newsletter talks about the effects the Bentley operation may have on the capability of local area commands to meet first-response agreements.
“This is an agreement between the police union and the police force to keep the numbers of police in local area commands at a level that properly meets community demands,” he said.
“So this circular really means that they’re going to take police from all over the state, send them up to Bentley, and that will leave communities right across New South Wales under-strength with police.”
“It means, depending on where you are, if something happens to you or your family and you call the police, they might not come for hours.
“So it just means that the government’s priorities are wrong.
“When they say the preparation for this operation has been constrained, constrained by whom?
“Has there been any political interference here?
“I’ve been the former minister for police, and if someone sent me a circular saying that the police were not able, due to constraints, to prepare properly for a large operation I’d want to know why.”
Source ABC News