Libs prom­ise new po­lice sta­tion

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

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