An advertised show of force by NSW police in south-west Sydney that commenced on Friday sends the wrong message about the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus and will do nothing to prevent it, the mayor of the City of Liverpool, Wendy Waller, has said.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian this week singled out the local government areas of Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown as places where the virus was spreading despite Greater Sydney’s lockdown.
Family members from different households mingling with each other was causing infections to rise, with 21 of the latest 38 cases coming from the south-west, she stated on Thursday.
The following day an extra 100 officers were deployed to the area to ensure compliance with public health orders.
More police ‘great fodder’ for the TV news crews
Waller has since commended Berejiklian for attempting to reassure the community that a boosted police presence in south-west Sydney was not a targeted blitz, but says she is concerned that the perception is otherwise.
“When we see mounted police and officers arriving from other parts of Sydney – that does not feel like a community policing exercise,” the Mayor said. “It’s great fodder for the television news crews as well, as for all the wrong reasons, and perpetuates negative stereotypes about south-west Sydney.
“We didn’t see the same messaging throughout the Bondi outbreak, the ramifications of which continue to be felt. What message is this sending to the law-abiding people of Liverpool … and to the rest of Sydney?”
Waller said the Premier should instead be allocating more resources to NSW Health to improve the dissemination of public health order information in emerging languages.
A health approach rather than a policing approach
“NSW Health is doing a great job, but it is very hard to keep on top of this issue and the Premier should be adopting a health approach rather than a policing approach to this problem – across all of Sydney.”
“Council has, and will, continue to support the work of NSW Health by getting the message out to residents during this time on social media and other channels. We are now calling on the NSW Government to deliver an appropriate and measured solution.”
Waller said she would like to see NSW Health officers, rather than police, on the streets of Liverpool and other areas of south-west Sydney.
She also supports a vaccination hub in Liverpool and pointed to the large number of workers in the Liverpool Local Government Area who have no choice but to leave home to work.