Libs promise new police station
A new and expanded police station able to accommodate more officers and expand opening hours has been promised for Drouin by the Liberal-National coalition if it wins government in November’s State election.
In Drouin last Wednesday Shadow Minister for Police Edward O’Donoghue said the new station would be built in the next term of government if elected.
He said police at Drouin had been forced for too long to work in an “old and tired station” that is no longer fir for purpose.
Mr O’Donoghue said rebuilding on the current site at the corner of Princes Way and Viaduct Place was a possibility he did not rule out another site in the town.
That will be discussed with force command and local police chiefs, he said.
Member of Narracan Gary Blackwood who met Mr O’Donoghue outside the police station at Drouin that he said was built in 1970 for about six staff at a time when the town’s population was 3000. Today it is about 18,000, he said. A police residence built on an adjoining block was sold privately a number of years ago.
Mr Blackwood said the growing population and shortage of police resources was reflected in a 5.9 per cent growth in crime across the Baw Baw police district in 2016-17, Mr Blackwood stated, while Mr O’Donoghue pointed to statistics that showed the number of “crimes against the person” committed in Drouin were up 22.5 per cent in the past four years.
Mr O’Donoghue and Mr Blackwood also met at Drouin over the issue last January launching a petition for the State government to build a new station after Mr Blackwood said he had received numerous complaints and concerns from the community about police resources in the town.
Mr O’Donoghue said the Coalition’s focus was on “looking after the front line first” ensuring they had the accommodation and resources for the future.
Warragul builder Wayne Farnham of Farnham Developments took the opportunity of last week’s visit to stress to Mr O’Donoghue the need for more police in the Baw Baw district, specifically raising thefts from building sites that he described as “out of control”.
Mr Farnham said he believed there was only one patrol car available at night to cover the entire district.
He said the costs of building materials and sub-contractors’ tools and equipment that were stolen as well as the costs of extra security at construction sites were eventually passed on to consumers.
Shadow Police Minister Edward O’Donoghue (left) and Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood discuss crime rates with district builder Wayne Farnham at Drouin police station last week when Mr O’Donoghue announced a Liberal-National coalition government would build a new police station at Drouin in the next four years if elected at November’s State election.