The police minister has slammed union suggestions that Ballarat has less front line police than in 2014, maintaining the government is committed to providing police the resources they need to cope with the region’s rising crime.
Minister Lisa Neville officially opened the Ballarat West police station amid rising concerns from the Police Association that at least 30 extra police were needed in the region.
“There is no doubt police are under pressure, that is why we have brought forward funding in terms of additional police,” Ms Neville said.
She said government, Victoria Police and the union were working towards a new deployment method that would see specialist police stationed in areas of need.
She said regional areas in particular were seeing increased calls for family violence calls, which took significant police time.
Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said Ballarat member were “extraordinarily busy” and would “fall behind” if extra resources were not deployed.
“There are fewer first-response officers in Ballarat and Moorabool today than there were in 2014 and an extra 30 first-response police are required in Ballarat and surrounds to keep pace with population growth,” Mr Iddles said.
Ms Neville “categorically denied” this statement.
“These members need to be supported by additional police prosecutors, highway patrol officers and investigators as well,” Mr Iddles said.
Ballarat’s Superintendent Andrew Allen said policing numbers and resources allocation were a matter for the chief commissioner and minister to decide, but maintained police had the resources they need.
He said the Ballarat West police had further enabled police to respond to priority one jobs quickly in the outskirts of Ballarat.
“As an example is last night the Ballarat West police were able to go to a priority one task in Haddon – from here to Haddon is just barely 10 minutes,” Superintendent Allen said.
“The locality shows the response is really good for those locations.”
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