POLICE were out in force in Creswick and Ballan on Thursday, in an effort to showcase a visible police presence in the two areas.
In the wake of a number of high-profile incidents in Creswick during the past year, including a robbery in which $30,000 worth of cigarettes were taken from the town's supermarket, a police officer breaking his leg while trying to arrest a teenager, a death following an alleged altercation at a pub and an alleged murder at Christmas, there have been numerous calls for an increased police presence in the town.
While the community has called for a round-the-clock permanent police presence in the town, police have consistently offered reassurance that it receives a 24-hour police response to incidents, with support from specialist units such as the Highway Patrol.
However, community concern has often centred on the fact that despite the town being a mere 20-minute drive from Ballarat, it falls under the Moorabool police service area and after hours, police from Bacchus Marsh are tasked with responding to incidents - about a 45-minute drive.
Acting Senior Sergeant Daniel York, who is the operations manager for Hepburn Shire, Golden Plains and Moorabool Shire, ran the operation.
He said 'Operation Tirade' was organised in order to increase the visible police presence across the whole Moorabool police service area to reassure the public that police are around and are working to keep the communities safe.
"Creswick and Ballan were chosen first because of the recent issues in Creswick and because the freeway runs through Ballan, so there is some concern from a traffic point of view," Acting Senior Sergeant York said.
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The operation was comprised of two components: tracking down people for outstanding warrants as well as detecting traffic offences.
A number of units were involved in the operation. Officers from Ballan and Creswick were involved, as well as uniformed officers and members of the Divisional Response Unit from Ballarat. Moorabool Crime Investigation Unit Detectives and the Highway Patrol were also involved.
Further operations will be conducted at different locations throughout the year to bolster the police presence across the wider police service area.
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