Casino needs 24-hour policing: Ellem

THE Country Labor candidate for the seat of Clarence has vowed to continue Casino's fight for 24-hour policing in the town and kicked it off by launching a community petition yesterday.

Peter Ellem launched the petition for a 24-hour police station in the country town yesterday morning in a move that echoed that of former Clarence MP Steve Cansdell, who also promised around-the-clock policing in Casino.

Mr Ellem said he was responding to the concerns of local residents.

"Casino is a great country town ... that offers a fantastic country lifestyle," Mr Ellem said.

"But the people and the businesses of Casino are fed up with rising crime.

"I am responding to the immediate need in the community."

The petition will be handed out to local businesses in the lead-up to the by-election, which is expected to be held next month. It follows a petition of 2200 signatures collected by Richmond Valley Council and forwarded to the Minister for Police, Michael Gallacher, in July.

But Mr Gallacher isn't making any promises until the completion of the state-wide audit of police resources, currently being compiled by former police assistant commissioner Peter Parsons.

Mr Ellem said an interim measure should be put in place and spoke of a mobile police van.

"I have met with local police and I know how incredibly hard they work to protect the local communities. But we need more police and they need to be better resourced," he said.

"This crime wave that has hit Casino has actually happened under the police minister's watch.

"We don't need more reviews into police numbers, everyone knows what is needed. The police have the power to step in now and act and give Casino what it deserves, which is a 24-hour police station."

Mr Ellem also launched a petition for a 24 hour police station in Yamba and a mobile police van for Grafton.