Penrith LAC short by six officers, says Zangari

"Under strength": Mr Zangari and Ms Car visit Penrith police station this morning (Monday).

"Under strength": Mr Zangari and Ms Car visit Penrith police station this morning (Monday).

Penrith Local Area Command (LAC) is six officers under strength and numbers need to be bolstered, according to Opposition Police Spokesman Guy Zangari.

Mr Zangari visited the station with Londonderry MP Prue Car this morning (Monday), accusing Penrith MP Stuart Ayres and the state government of failing to deliver on local police numbers.

But Mr Ayres hit back strongly, labelling Mr Zangari a “clown”.

Figures released by Labor revealed that Penrith LAC was six officers under strength at April of this year, and that information from the NSW Police Force showed the command had been “haemorrhaging numbers since 2015”, a Labor statement said.

“In January 2015, the LAC was over strength by four police officers, with the figures only getting worse as the Liberal/Nationals state government continue slashing funding to every public service in the NSW state budget,” the statement said.

“The LAC’s numbers are now at their worst in years with six police officers under strength which places an unfair burden on the police officers as they are overworked and have less time to recover.

“One vacant position equates to 19 shifts which need to be covered over a six week period. The vacancies in the Penrith LAC mean that 114 shifts are being covered by police officers through overtime.”

The numbers did not take into account additional shifts that needed to be covered as a result of leave, or officers who were sick or injured.

“Despite their promises to protect the community, the Liberal/Nationals State Government has failed locals yet again by dropping police officer numbers at Penrith LAC,” Mr Zangari said in the statement.

“We have police in Penrith doing an outstanding job in their community, and I commend them for their dedication to keeping us all safe, but the LAC clearly needs need more police officers and resources.”

Ms Car agreed, saying the government was “putting the community’s welfare at risk”.

“Our region is suffering as a result of government inaction,” she said. “Local residents deserve a government that provides them with the proper police resources to keep the community safe.”

Mr Ayres said Mr Zangari was a “clown”.

"Penrith has the lowest crime rates we have seen in years and this Labor clown swans into Penrith and forgets to count officers on sick and annual leave as well as those on training,” he said.

"There are now more police on the beat in NSW than any year under Labor.

"What's even worse Labor has no plan to continue to fund our police force into the future, putting hard won gains at risk.

"This is clear given Mr Zangari couldn't tell anyone how he would fund even one new police officer in Penrith. If you can't answer that how can we trust Labor with anything."