Out­burst over po­lice re­sources

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - New -

Western Vic­to­rian state op­po­si­tion mem­bers have con­demned the govern­ment’s al­lo­ca­tion of new po­lice of­fi­cers, ar­gu­ing it has largely ig­nored ru­ral Vic­to­ria.

Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy and Mem­ber for Ripon Louise Sta­ley said fig­ures re­leased by The Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion of Vic­to­ria showed only 77 of the 900 new po­lice al­lo­cated in the past three years had gone to re­gional and ru­ral Vic­to­ria. The num­ber rep­re­sents about 8.6 per­cent of new al­lo­ca­tions.

Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics data in­di­cates about 23.6 per­cent of Vic­to­ria’s pop­u­la­tion lived out­side of the Melbourne metropoli­tan area in June 2018.

In ad­di­tion to the 77 po­lice al­lo­cated to re­gional ar­eas a fur­ther 53 were sent to Gee­long, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of po­lice al­lo­cated out­side the Melbourne metropoli­tan area to 130, or about 14.4 per­cent of the 900 to­tal.

Ms Kealy said the num­bers high­lighted a bias to­wards Melbourne by the State Govern­ment.

“Our lo­cal po­lice go above and be­yond to keep

our com­mu­ni­ties safe, but La­bor’s city-cen­tric agenda is see­ing any ex­tra po­lice re­sources fo­cused in Melbourne,” she said.

“Un­der La­bor there has been an alarm­ing in­crease in crime in many of our lo­cal govern­ment ar­eas with no in­crease in re­sourc­ing to meet the polic­ing needs of our com­mu­ni­ties.

“With Vic­to­ria’s ru­ral road toll cur­rently 80 per­cent higher than last year, fewer po­lice num­bers in ru­ral ar­eas trans­lates to less road polic­ing and safety when Vic­to­ri­ans need it most.

“There are no sec­ond chances when it comes to road safety and for ev­ery week the govern­ment fails to pro­vide po­lice with the re­sources they need, more lives are be­ing placed at risk.”

Ms Sta­ley said crime sta­tis­tics had risen in sev­eral Wim­mera mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing a 22 per­cent in­crease in re­ported thefts in North­ern Grampians Shire and a 15 per­cent spike in drug of­fences in Ararat dur­ing the 12 months to March 2019.

“Lo­cal po­lice in Stawell and St Ar­naud aren’t get­ting the sup­port they de­serve from the La­bor Govern­ment,” she said.

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