Ballarat has enough police for now: union

THERE has been a “healthy” influx of first response officers to Ballarat since 2010, according to the police association.

Western division three, which includes the Ballarat and Moorabool police service areas, has seen a 30 per cent increase in officers since November 2010.

By July this year, there were 291 full-time equivalent officers, up from 229 in 2010.

Police Association Victoria secretary Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles said Ballarat was in line with the recommended ratio of 102 officers per 100,000 people.

“This boost has gone a long way to alleviate the staffing shortages which had reached critical levels at around the turn of the decade,” Senior Sergeant Iddles said.

However, Ballarat will require 11 first-response officers over the next five years to keep up with an 8 per cent population growth, according to the union research.

“While our research indicates that the current number of first-response officers in Ballarat is adequate compared to other regions in the state, this situation won’t last if police numbers are allowed to fall behind the significant population growth that is projected to take place in the Ballarat region over the next five years,” Senior Sergeant Iddles said.

“We have seen with the recent experience in Ballarat that having adequate numbers of first-response police officers can help drive down rates of certain street crimes such as assaults.

“We would therefore caution against complacency and urge those who are empowered to make such decisions to ensure that first-response police numbers in Ballarat continues to keep up with expected growth in population in the next few years.”

The government has delivered 1700 officers since its election in 2010 but Senior Sergeant Iddles said only a fraction of those had moved into front-line duties.

“The net effect is that about only one third of those 1700 have gone to the front line or to be the first responders in uniform,” Senior Sergeant Iddles said.

- with AAP

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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