Lord Mayor Clover Moore has rebutted claims she “copped-out” over the funding of police at Oxford St’s Safe Place.
The debacle arose over the interpretation of a NSW Police policy document that Moore said prevented Council from paying directly for police.
The policy stated that NSW Police “will only enter into supplementary policing arrangements with a local council where the council warrants that it is not contributing to the costs of the service”.
Despite the confusing language in the policy, Moore confirmed that Council staff consulted directly with Surry Hills Police and were informed that the City was not eligible to fund user-pays policing.
The controversy was further exacerbated by the contrasting interpretations of the policy by the Surry Hills Local Area Command and the Police Minister, David Campbell.
But despite a spokesman for Campbell’s office saying it was not unheard of for councils to pay for police, the Local Area Command has the final say.
According to the policy document referred to by Surry Hills police, “council applications for supplementary policing services should be integrated with broader local crime prevention and community safety plans where possible”.
Moore has said that the cost of user-pays policing, which has been estimated at more than $10,000 a week for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, could instead be borne by local businesses.
It has been suggested the late night licensed venues that contribute to the safety problems could also contribute to the cost of additional policing.
A City spokesman said the Council would continue discussions on joint patrols by police and rangers, continue its other initiatives under the Oxford St Safety Strategy, and discuss with the Darlinghurst Business Partnership the options for Oxford St businesses to contribute towards supplementary policing expenditure.
Moore said that following her meetings with the Police Minister, Surry Hills Police were now fully staffed with two extra licensing police, and four police on foot patrol for Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday morning.
Have your say: Should the city pay for extra police, or should the NSW Government give the Surry Hills command more officers?