Officer “made to keep quiet”

"I have wanted to speak out against the forced amalgamation of Cootamundra LAC and Wagga Wagga LAC and every effort is being made to keep me quiet."

An officer from the Cootamundra Local Area Command (LAC) wanted to come forward on Friday morning to speak publicly about concerns with the proposed LAC mergers after the by-election this weekend.

"I'm concerned that the service given now by the Cootamundra Local Area Command will be affected," the officer said. "What gets to me most is that the details of this whole plan has been deliberately hidden from people until after tomorrow's election."

The current officer’s comments were read out by Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate Matthew Stadtmiller in Cootamundra on Friday morning as he addressed the media.

The officer had agreed to appear publicly with Mr Stadtmiller, but had been gagged at the last minute.

Officers from the Cootamundra LAC have already spoken with the Young Witness newspaper on October 10 and asked their identities be kept hidden due to the repercussions of speaking out against the ‘re-engineering.’

“I’m concerned of the possibility that bullying and intimidation tactics by the Government have been used to stop police officers from speaking out about this cost-cutting exercise,” Mr Stadtmiler said.

Mr Stadtmiller said serving police officers have completely contradicted the claims made by the National party that there will be more police on the streets after the potential mergers take place.

“Instead, the Nationals are using the power of Government to stop the details being made public before the election.”

Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Robert Borsak said that the Police Officer in question had agreed to speak out after the election in his public inquiry into bullying and harassment in the Police and emergency services.

“I’m chair of a public inquiry into Police and emergency services, and this serving Police officer has volunteered to make a submission to my inquiry after the election,” Mr Borsak said.

“Police Minister Troy Grant is gutless for keeping this forced amalgamation plan quiet before the election on Saturday. The Nationals know it will cost them votes so that’s why they’re keeping it quiet.”