Sutherland and Miranda local area commands to merge

Changes: Sutherland Police Commander, Superintendent Julian Griffiths, and Miranda Police Commander, Superintendent Michael O'Toole
Changes: Sutherland Police Commander, Superintendent Julian Griffiths, and Miranda Police Commander, Superintendent Michael O'Toole

Miranda and Sutherland Local Area Commands will be merged as part of a long-rumoured restructure to the NSW Police Force.

Under the plans 18 metro local area commands will be merged leaving at least nine commanders without a job.

That could include Sutherland Commander, Superintendent Julian Griffith, and Miranda Commander, Superintendent Michael O’Toole.

Both have been in their roles for a number of years.

The merged commands will be known as the Sutherland Shire Police Area Command- ending 20 years of the Local Area Command name.

The St George police restructure will remain unchanged after they were merged in 2013.

A NSW Police spokesman said no decision had been made on whether stations would close as part of the restructure.

That the state's police force was set for a shake-up is no surprise.

In April then-new Police Commissioner Mick Fuller revealed a wish to review the force's middle management and place more boots on the ground, in the biggest restructure in 20 years.

At the time it was reported up to 50 of the state's 800 superintendents and inspectors would be cut as part of the overhaul, while the entire process would save more than $10 million annually.

In a statement Commissioner Fuller said a "flexible workforce" had been on his agenda since day one.

"A large aspect of re-engineering is putting more police back on the frontline and a flexible workforce is a good outcome for the community," he said.

"Over the past six months the NSW Police Force has been widely consulting with stakeholders including the Police Association of NSW, Public Service Association and the community."

Acting Public Service Association (PSA) General Secretary Troy Wright said the PSA had long heard "whispers" about mergers in metropolitan and regional areas, which it feared would lead to a loss of civilian jobs.

"We were only informed this week that a formal announcement would be made about metropolitan mergers, but on regional areas we are still in the dark," he said.

A spokesperson for Police Minister Troy Grant said it was "entirely false to suggest that police services will be reduced in any way" as a result of any structural changes.

"It is in no way about cutting officer numbers. Commissioner Fuller is leading this important reform and has the support of Government in its implementation," she said.

Local police and communities across NSW will be consulted on any potential changes as the re-engineering continues, she said.

"The process of re-engineering is designed to place more frontline officers where we need them the most. It's about giving the people of NSW a police force that is flexible, nimble and prepared to face the changing and evolving crime landscape in NSW."

Member for Cronulla Mark Speakman said he spoke to NSW Police Commissioner Fuller last week.

‘’He assured me that in the Shire, as part of the merger, there would be more frontline police and general duties officers, a strengthened domestic violence team and faster average response times,’’ he said.