Outburst over police resources
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.