They’re usually out enforcing speed restrictions, detecting drink-drivers or investigating collisions but yesterday police from Ballarat’s Highway Patrol took time out for a chat and a snag with one of the force’s top brass.
Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill, freshly promoted and handed a Road Policing portfolio, visited the Ballarat members as part of statewide tour to learn from those on the front line.
“Since my appointment I’ve travelled the state for no other reason than to understand the business,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to the large majority of our Highway Patrol members across Victoria and some great ideas are coming forward.”
Assistant Commissioner Hill said centralised resources would be deployed to regional areas for major police enforcement operations in the future.
Ballarat Senior Sergeant Pat Cleary said it was good to be able to communicate the views of local police to the Assistant Commissioner.
“It’s great to have the support ... our members can touch base and speak to our Assistant Commissioner, which is just fantastic,” he said.
“It gives them a chance to pass on some of their messages to him as well as receive what he has to suggest to us.”
Senior Sergeant Cleary said while country areas had different road policing issues to metropolitan areas, Ballarat’s biggest issue was driver distraction.
“We do have more and more collisions involving people using phones and people are getting seriously hurt,” he said.
“It’s a real concern ... it’s something that if we don’t all hop-in and try and address, it’s going to be an ongoing issue.”
Srnior Sergeant Cleary said there was also some good news for the region.
“In the local region here it’s been quite good in regards to trauma reduction – we’re having a win in that area,” he said.
“But we’re only one small piece in a jigsaw puzzle – we do need everybody to support us.”