Cop out


Cop out

SOUTH Gippsland needs more police to address officers’ excessive workloads and community concerns about rising crime in the region.

Amongst the public: senior constables Luke Sheahan (left) and Nathan Grist ‘arrest’ some likely suspects at the Meeniyan Garlic Festival on Saturday. Photo: Ken Spence Photography.

However Victoria Police in Melbourne believes there are enough police officers in South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires, despite pleas for more after hours police from the Korumburra community in the wake of businesses being robbed, hooning, vandalism and family violence.

The Star is aware police officers in the region are concerned about their workloads and inadequate numbers of officers, with some travelling to as far as Nyora and Wilsons Promontory.

There are now 101 full-time police officers in the South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires, but a single major incident requiring mass police attendance can involve every on duty police officer from Welshpool to Lang Lang.

This leaves many areas without police coverage or at least not able to receive a police response within a reasonable timeframe.

The spokesperson said, “The local community can be assured that there is sufficient resourcing in the Bass Coast Police Service Area (PSA).

“Resources are boosted during the busy summer holiday period and during events such as the Moto GP and Schoolies.

“Both the South Gippsland and Bass Coast Local Government Areas are well covered by police 24 hours a day.”

New Wonthaggi Senior Sergeant Peter Watson is hoping for more officers when the next round of police is allocated soon to the Eastern Region, Division Five, which includes Bass Coast and South Gippsland shires, as well as Latrobe City and Baw Baw Shire Council.

He concurred more police were needed in the area.

“It’s been a problem for quite a while. Police get allocated depending on where the demand is. We get by with we have got,” he said.

“Unfortunately we have a bit of sick leave at the moment and we have to manage the extra strain of that.

“We have an ageing demographic of police down here and that happens from time to time. Any further resources we get would be appreciated because we can do more proactive stuff when we have more police to work with.”

However the Korumburra Business Association is still concerned about the lack of police after hours in the town, president Noelene Cosson said.

“Our police station is only partially manned during business hours. Korumburra’s need for police presence is unfortunately something that is now becoming more crucial,” she said.

“Crime is very prevalent with business break-ins, family violence, vandalism and car hooning becoming a regular occurrence. 

“These offenders know the police are at the very least half hour away but often much further than this and are well gone by the time police arrive.

“This delay certainly doesn’t act as a deterrent.”

Ms Cosson said many incidences go unreported as people feel the only way to report an incident is at the local police station, which is often unmanned.

“Our crime rate is increasing and we understand there are areas that have significantly higher crime rates than Korumburra, but without significant police presence it only encourages these undesirables to continue their acts of crime,” she said.

“We had written to the government last year requesting more police in our area and be proactive to keep the crime rate down and to not wait until we have become a bigger statistic on the crime figures.”

The Victoria Police spokesperson said an increase in service delivery within the Bass Coast PSA over the past 12 months saw more on-duty patrol time, more timely responses to calls for police assistance and an increased visible police presence.

“Data from the Crime Statistics Agency shows that Bass Coast recorded a decrease of 16.3 percent in crime in the 12 months to September 2018, with significant decreases in high volume crimes such as residential burglaries (down 24 percent) and theft from motor-vehicles figures (down 38.6 percent),” they said.

Victoria Police does not have plans to expand the operating hours of Leongatha Police Station, with a Victoria Police spokesperson saying workload data shows there is not a need for Leongatha to operate as a 24 hour station, “however this is continually reviewed”.

The spokesperson said data from the Crime Statistics Agency showed there wasa significant decrease in the number of offences reported in Leongatha in the past 12 months, with less than one offence recorded every day.

“Victoria Police is constantly reviewing police numbers, levels of offending and peak times when police are required,” the spokesperson said.

Victoria Police developed a resource planning tool, the Staff Allocation Model, in partnership with The Police Association in 2016 to allocate extra police to the areas of highest need.

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Posted by on Feb 19 2019. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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