POLICE are adapting how they conduct their duties in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic but it's all focused on keeping the community safe.
While the majority of community members are being asked to isolate in their own homes, emergency service personnel are continuing to work on the frontline to keep communities safe.
This includes police, who are playing both a proactive and enforcement role throughout this pandemic - from door knocking homes to ensure returned travellers are isolating for the required 14 days, to ensuring public order in supermarkets, that only essential services are operating and that people are not gathering in groups. They are also conducting extra patrols to provide reassurance to the community.
Superintendent Jenny Wilson - who oversees policing in the region encompassing the Ballarat, Moorabool, Hepburn, Golden Plains and Pyrenees communities - said the local police presence would be just as strong throughout this time, if not more so, with increased patrols already being conducted.
"We're committed to continue our core roles and response, as we always have, but just might look a bit different and the way we contact people may also continue to change," she said.
"At the end of the day, all of these changes are being made to keep our community safe and to stop the spread of this virus, which we know could result in the death of some of our residents, particularly the most vulnerable people."
Before attending an incident, a caller will be asked a series of questions to determine the level of risk. While police will continue to respond, they will look a little different while they conduct their duties and will wear personal protection equipment such as glasses, gloves, masks and at times even disposable overalls in order to not only protect the police members themselves but also community members.
Police are also limiting the number of people who attend police stations. One member and 16-hour police stations are closed to the public as members will be out on patrol in their communities, though signs on the doors of the stations list various phone numbers to call for assistance.
Calling the station directly may divert to the station's police mobile, so members will still be contactable and if required to attend, will return to the station.
In Ballarat, both Ballarat North and Ballarat West police stations are closed to the public until further notice. Community members can still attend Ballarat Police Station but there is a limit of four people within the waiting area at any one time due to social distancing regulations.
Due to the current situation being completely unprecedented, police don't know what sort of issues will arise as time goes on but are preparing for a number of issues which may stem from social isolation - such as the possibility for an increase in family violence, an increase in crime due to unemployment and drink and drug driving.
It is difficult for police to foresee what will happen in relation to family violence, as the rate of family violence has varied in different countries already in lockdown.
Police are prepared for the possibility of an increase, though the closures of venues such as pubs may also drive down offending.
While police have halted booze bus operations, roadside drug and alcohol testing is still being conducted by patrolling members. Police have caught a number of high range drink drivers on roads around the region in recent weeks.
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While Superintendent Wilson said community members across the region were used to responding to emergencies such as bush, scrub and grass fires, the current state of emergency was different and harder to comprehend for many.
But the compassion and resilience exhibited in times of other emergencies is already shining through.
Police have been working with the City of Ballarat and other organisations to work out how to best support vulnerable community members and have already had members conducting welfare checks on those listed on the vulnerable registry.
However, Superintendent Wilson said police required the support of the community to ensure nobody is left behind and urged community members to look out for their neighbours.
"I think we've got a very compassionate city. Compassion is all about seeing the suffering of others and doing something to alleviate that and so I think if we all have that mindset, then we should be okay.
"I've got a lot of faith in the community because we're very adaptable, probably more so than in the big metropolitan cities, and so now is the time that we just need to do our best and show our community spirit."
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