BY LAUREN FREEMANTLE

Bag scanning operations at Newcastle Airport will continue to be carried out by Port Stephens Police, despite Williamtown’s new status as an international destination.

The first flight from Newcastle to Auckland, New Zealand will take off next Thursday, with just over half its seats with carrier Virgin Australia currently booked.

Hunter officers have been in talks with the Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police, deciding local officers will be re-trained to conduct federal policing activities.

“The airport’s classification has moved from category three to category two, but it’s not deemed a ‘designated’ facility, so there’s no requirement for the Australian Federal Police to staff the airport,” Port Stephens-Hunter Commander Detective Superintendent Craig Jackson said.

“However, the AFP has started training local NSW officers to deal with international crime detection and the prosecution of offences under state and federal legislation,” he added.

“There are new areas of policing for us to consider, relating to importation, immigration and aviation offences, as well as the airport’s own procedures.”

The 13-week Auckland arrangement is due to continue until Sunday 17 February 2019.


Image: Shutterstock.