Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison fears proposed police restructure will leave Central Hunter worse off

CONCERNED: Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison says a proposed police restructure would leave her community ‘short-changed’. Picture: Simone De PeakMAITLAND will “suffer” and is on track to being “short-changed” if a proposed police restructure does not boost the number of frontline officers, Jenny Aitchison has told Police Minister Troy Grant.
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The Maitland Labor MP has ratcheted up her criticism of the state-wide police restructure, which, if approved, would see the biggest changes to Hunter local area commandsin more than two decades, with a flatter management structure and the creation of new “policing districts”.

The biggest changes to the Central Hunter Local Area Command – which is headquartered at Maitland station – would see the command’s superintendent shift to Raymond Terrace.

The communities of Cessnock and Kurri Kurri would also be shaved off the jurisdiction to become the responsibility of Hunter Valley police.

In strong criticism of the proposal, Ms Aitchison said Maitland was being “short-changed” underthe restructure,and questioned why the state government was yet to spell out the number of new police it would bring.

“I cannot stand by silent while our community is being short-changed and even more of our precious police resources are given back to the NSW treasury, while we here in Maitland suffer with increasing rates of domestic violence, car theft and other crimes with a police force that is struggling to keep on top of the task, regardless of their amazing efforts thus far,” she said in a letter to the Police Minister, seen by Fairfax Media.

“There is only so much capacity for people to work in this environment.”

‘Their greatest concern is that they would like to see additional police’ … Northern Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell. Picture: Marina Neil

Ms Aitchison claimed that the command was understaffed by at least 20 officers and police were under “constant strain and pressure”.

“A major opportunity to provide more ‘boots on the ground’ does not actually result in any additional police,” the Labor MP said.

“In fact, across the two areas [Port Stephens and Maitland] there will actually be one less police officer.”

Ms Aitchison also feared the loss of local leadership with the removal of a Maitland-based superintendent, despite police assurances each station would retain a chief inspector.

“I have great reservations about whether or not the issues will be addressed, or swept under the carpet as they will be ‘out of sight out of mind’,” she said.

In a recentinterview with theHerald, Northern Region commander Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell acknowledged that Hunter MPs and mayors were opposed to aspects of the looming restructure.

“Their greatest concern is that they would like to see additional police and that’s a matter, really, for the government and the commissioner’soffice,” he said.

Live at the Foreshore 2017 rocks out in new location despite rainy weatherPhotos

Even more photos from Live at the Foreshore 2017 Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight
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Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Mitch Lowe Photo // SaveTonight

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

Photo: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookThis That festival and Live at the Foreshore made their west end debut, after relocating from the foreshoredue to construction of the Supercars race track.

Up to 12,000 revellers piled into the park on Saturday for This That, with the lineup featuring Tash Sultana, The Preatures and Alison Wonderland.

But it was electronic heavyweights The Presets that stole the show after sundown, attracting the largest crowd of the evening.

There was also a marked turnaround in spectator behaviour, after police putfestival organisers on notice following last year’s event.

Newcastle City police Chief Inspector Gerard Lawson praised the actions of the crowds, despite more than two dozen arrests, mainly for drug possession.

He said a handful were likely to face charges.

“It was a well-run event that went smoothly and that’s because of all the preparation we do in the lead-up with the various stakeholders,” he said.

Johanne Defay rules Hunter waves again to top QS rankingsphotos

DOUBLE DELIGHT: France’s Johanne Defay is chaired up Birubi Beach after her victory in the Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro final over Tatiana Weston-Webb on Sunday. Picture: Ethan Smith/WSLFrenchwoman Johanne Defay started and finished her qualifying series season a champion in the Hunter with victory in the inaugural Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro at Birubi Beach on Sunday.
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The championship tour surfer, who won Surfest’s Anditi Pro at Merewether in February, beat Hawaiian Tatiana Weston-Webb to claima second 6000-point QS event in the Hunter.

It meant she finished top of the QS standings to guarantee her place again on the CT, where she is ninth and likely to re-qualify with a top-10 finish.Weston-Webb, 11thon the CT, was second on the QS to secure another year on the top tour.

Defay strikes late to ride high again in the Hunter TweetFacebook Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro© WSL / Ethan SmithDefay trailed in the final before earning a score of9.07, on a wave Weston-Webb had to concede, with four minutes left. The ride, featuring a huge lay-back snap, secured a17.74 to 14.43 win.

“I didn’t have much pressure on me because I’m pretty safe on the CT so that definitely helped me relax,” Defay said. “I had never won a QS and now I have won two in the same area which is really special.”

Merewether’s Philippa Anderson was eliminated in round six on Saturday and Avoca teenagerMacy Callaghan made the semi-finals on Sunday. Both needed a better result to book a maiden CT berth.

In the men’s 1000-point event, Surfest pro junior winner Liam O’Brien defeated Jacob Willcox in the final.

Meanwhile, Kiwi Paige Hareb, a runner at Surfest and quarter-finalist on Sunday, secured a return to the women’s CT.

“I was so shattered after my loss I came home to watch the event online,” Hareb said. “That heat was so hard to watch and I just felt sick for the last few minutes, it just took forever. Once it was over and I knew I had qualified I just burst into tears. It has been an intense week and a long year so I’m glad it’s over and I’m back. I have matured a lot over the last few years so am stoked to get back on and tackle it with a different approach and hopefully stay there.”

Weston-Webb was pleased to cement her place on the CT.

“I’m really proud of the way I surfed in the final,” she said.

“Johanne got that last wave in the end and we kind of had a laugh about it. I mean, I can’t do anything else. She’s an amazing surferand to share a final with a friend is really nice. I’m really happy to requalify for next year and hopefully we come back next year.”

She added: “It’s been an awesome week here. At the beginning of the year I didn’t think I would be here chasing points on the QS, but here I am. It’s a good feeling though to make the final and know how well I surfed and know I have re-qualified, I can head to Maui for the final CT with confidence.”

Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick says undefeated A-League squad are still warming to the task

12 photos capture the Jets’ rampage into the 2017 season TweetFacebookHIS team are unbeaten after five games and have scored more goals than any rival outfit in the A-League, but Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick believes they are at least a month away from showing their true potential.
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Newcastle’s dream start to 2017-18 continued on Saturday night when they dispatched Wellington 3-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium, in what Merrick described as their best all-round performance since he assumed the reins.

They now have three wins and two draws to their name and are third on the ladder with 11 points, behind only Melbourne City (12) and Sydney FC (13).

Read more: ‘Maintain the rage’ urges W-league coach Craig Deans after 2-0 victory

Already they have scored 13 goals, almost half as many as they did last season (28), when they finished with the wooden spoon.

But Merrick hasnodoubt his team have plenty of scope for improvement.

He said most teams take “about eight or nine games” to find peak form, although defending champions Sydney were an obvious exception, “because they’ve had that team together for so long now, and they’ve added two or three quality players”.

“With us, our starting line-up, half of them are new,” Merrick said. “It’ll take us about nine games to be playing at our best.

“Then it’s a case of maintaining it and trying to make sure we’ve got the depth when we lose players like [Ronny] Vargas and [Daniel] Georgievski.We covered for those really well today.”

Read more:Two qualities make Cassidy Davis invaluable to the Newcastle Jets W-League squad

Newcastle next face testing away games against Adelaide on Saturday and Sydney a week later, and Merrick said that would provide a gauge of their progress.

“Adelaide’s playing really well, and Sydney’s unbeatable this season, so I think it’s a good challenge, but it’s at the right time,” he said.

“We’ve had a couple of games at home and now we’ve set ourselves up to play our best football away from home.

“It will be quite a challenge and a good indication of whether we’re getting to our best and continuing to improve or not.”

Irish import Roy O’Donovan continued his hot streak on Saturday, scoring twice against Wellington in the first halfto take his tally forthe season to seven goals–three more than any other player in the A-League.

Newcastle’s other goal from winger Andrew Nabbout in the second half, his first of the campaign.

“I thought that was a verypleasing performance and everyone, all the team, should be pretty happy with that performance and set themselves another goal to improve on that again,” Merricksaid.

“I don’t give them outcomes to focus on, I give them processes, what their job entails.See if they can do it better, with more possession, more forward passes, more balls in the box, more tackles, etcetera.”

At the other end of the pitch, Newcastle were rock solid and kept their opponents scoreless for the first time in 13 games.

“I’ve never been that worried about clean sheets,” Merricksaid.

“It’s certainly a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But it’s making sure you score more goals than the opposition, rather than conceding less.”

Wellington coachDarije Kalezic said Newcastle were a“physically aggressive” team.

“They use that as a strength and a maximum,” he said.

“All the points that they want comefrom that factor.”

Merrick said Newcastle would not resort to safety-first football during their two games on the road.

“One thing I’ve tried to instill, and I think the boys have taken it on board, is that it doesn’t matter if we’re home or away, we’re going for a win,” he said.

Cricket: Joe Price guides Newcastle into NSW Country Championships final

FORM: Newcastle all-rounder Joe Price (right) preparing for day one of the NSW Country Championships at Inverell. Picture: Heidi GibsonAll-rounder Joe Price has continued his rich vein of form with a century and two wickets helping unbeaten Newcastle into this month’s NSW Country Championships final.
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With his side in trouble in Sunday’s third and deciding group game,Price made 111 not out in Newcastle’s total of 7-223 before taking a crucial 2-28 in Western’s reply of 160 at Inverell.

The 63-run victory over the title holdersmeans Newcastle now travel to Bowral’s Bradman Oval on November 26searching fora third crown in five seasons.

Price, who batted at No.5, arrived at the crease with Newcastle 3-22 and they were 5-52 not long after but he soldiered on hitting 10 fours and three sixes in his 127-ball knock.

He then broke an innings-high 50-run second-wicket partnership with his medium pacers, bowling Mitch Bower (24) and trapping Darrel Williams (27) leg beforein quick succession to make it 3-79.

“Obviously he’s in really good form at the moment and he was outstanding for us today,” Newcastle representative coach Shane Burley said.

Price shared vital half-century partnerships with newcomers Jed Dickson (36) and Dylan Hunter (21), who also claimed match-best figures of 4-22 from his 10 overs of left-arm orthodox spinners.

Western captain Jordan Moran (18) batted down the order after breaking his thumbwhile wicketkeeping in the same outing.

Newcastle and Western went into the encounter at Varley Oval without loss after defeating North Coast and Central North respectively on Saturday.Price made 68 from 69 balls.

Meanwhile in Newcastle District Cricket Association first grade results from a rain-affected Saturday and Charlestown have already secured first innings points and built a 43-run leadafter dismissing Belmont for 63.

Magpies pair Bayley McGill (52 not out) and Daniel Arms (48 not out) remain in the middle with thehosts, who temporarily jump into first spot on the competition ladder, reaching 2-106 from 19 overs at Kahibah Oval.

Earlier in the opening two-day fixtureSri Lankan first-class all-rounderSaliya Saman (4-27) did most of the damage with Belmont lasting just 25.4 overs.

Elsewhere and Merewether opening bowler Harrison Colbert (4-7) claimed his third straight four-wicket haul with hosts Cardiff-Boolaroo 7-61 from 19.3 overs.

There was also limited play between Toronto (5-116 off 43 overs) and Wests, Stockton-Raymond Terrace (6-65 off 33 overs) and Waratah-Mayfield, defending champions Hamilton-Wickham (0-19 off 6.5 overs) and Wallsend as well as Newcastle City (1-41 off 11 overs) and University.

Theround six encounters continue this Saturday.