Calls for action after six Tweed/Byron police assaulted
TOUGHER penalties and mandatory sentencing for offenders who assault police and other emergency service workers are being touted as possible outcomes of a NSW Government inquiry currently under way.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest, who steers the NSW Legislative Assembly Committee holding the inquiry, made the suggestion in the wake of several violent attacks on police in recent weeks.
Six police from the Tweed/Byron LAC have been injured in three separate incidents in recent weeks, adding to the 41 assaults against police that occured in the region in the 12 months to April.
Mr Provest said change was urgently needed to address an apparent culture of aggression towards men and women in uniform.
"I think it's an issue in the Tweed and all over," MrProvest said.
He said tougher penalties and possible mandatory sentencing for assaults on emergency service personnel were essential.
He said a local ambulance worker had approached him with concerns the current sentences weren't working.
"They said the sentences didn't reflect the crime," he said.
Mr Provest believes Western Australia's introduction of tougher assault laws two years ago had resulted in a decline in incidents in that state.
Mr Provest's comments came after he spent last Friday night on the road with Tweed/Byron LAC officers.
"I think there's a real urgency for this inquiry to ensure the proper safeguards are in place," he said. "These people are out there trying to save lives... and they need all the legislation possible to make sure they can do that in a safe manner."