Meet Senior Constable Peter Boys and Constable Luke Withers, the Tilligerry Peninsula's police force

The shift from Sydney to Lemon Tree Passage may have been a nice scenic change for police officers Peter Boys and Luke Withers but the job still remains the same they say.

Since transferring to the Port Stephens-Hunter Police District and taking up their post at Lemon Tree Passage, Senior Constable Boys and Constable Withers have been busy getting to know the Tilligerry community, responding to common policing calls plus proactively enforcing the COVID-19 restrictions.

"There's always something going on, whether it's COVID-19 or domestic related," Snr Cst Boys said. "We have been dealing with a lot of disputes lately as everyone is isolated at home and there's anxiety and tension building."

Snr Cst Boys transferred from Campbelltown where he worked for 14 years to Lemon Tree Passage 18 months ago.

"It's different to the hustle and bustle of a metro station. You're on your own a fair bit. It has more of a country vibe out here, the people are more relaxed," he said of the move to the Port.

Cst Withers, a "born and bred" Novocastrian, made the move from Kings Cross, where he commuted and worked for four years, six months ago.

He said he was "happy" to take up a posting on the Tilligerry Peninsula, especially as it cut down his commute time by three hours.

Acting Inspector Kristin Marshall, the officer in charge of Nelson Bay Police Station which oversees the Tilligerry station, said it was "really great" to have the officers "take ownership of the community".

"It gives the community a face for the police, which is really important in small communities," she said.

"It's also good for these guys because they get to know individuals, families, crime hot spots and be aware of the day-to-day comings and goings of the place."

Acting Inspector Kristin Marshall, Senior Constable Peter Boys and Constable Luke Withers greeting a neighbourhood dog.

Acting Inspector Kristin Marshall, Senior Constable Peter Boys and Constable Luke Withers greeting a neighbourhood dog.

For the past two months the coronavirus has made up a majority of their daily work, Snr Cst Boys said.

In addition to responding to incidents of theft, domestic and neighbourhood disputes, the pair proactively patrol the peninsula's shopping centres, boat ramps and public spaces to ensure the community is complying with the COVID-19 regulations.

This has also included speaking with people found to have visited their holiday homes on the peninsula.

Acting Inspector Marshall said while COVID-19 restrictions are being slowly lifted, with more to come into effect from Friday, it did not apply to social distancing and non-essential travel.

"It's not a green light to come and holiday on the Tilligerry Peninsula or Nelson Bay," she said. "Travel bans remain in place and police are still responding to calls about non-essential travel, which can be made to Crime Stoppers.

"The easing of restrictions isn't a free pass. If you are caught here without a reasonable excuse you are at risk of receiving a penalty infringement notice.

Other common calls the officers respond to is driving complaints, the most recent being trail bikes being ridden dangerously in Tanilba Bay.

"We're encouraging the community to call the station when they see it happening and report it right away, not wait until they see us," Cst Withers said.

While the station in Cook Parade, Lemon Tree Passage is not permanently manned as the officers are typically out on the road, phone calls do not go unanswered. Calls are transferred to the Nelson Bay or Raymond Terrace stations and, where possible, patched through to the officer on duty to respond to.

Meanwhile, the new $1.5 million Lemon Tree Passage Police Station promised to the community by the NSW Police Minister in January 2019 is "scheduled for completion within the coming months".

"In September 2019, acquisition of 50 Meredith Avenue, Lemon Tree Passage was completed. Design development for the police station is ongoing," a spokesperson from the minister's office told the Examiner.