More police needed
By Matt Dunn
THE Police Association has called for a boost in police numbers after a dramatic 19.4 per cent surge in crime in the local area.
The rising crime rate was revealed in the latest Victoria Police crime figures for Bass Coast region, which stretches from Phillip Island to East Gippsland.
“The latest Victoria Police crime statistics for Bass Coast confirms the urgent need to substantially boost frontline police numbers in the area,” Association secretary Senior Sergeant Greg Davies said.
“Given the worrying police shortage in Bass Coast, it is not surprising that there is a greater prevalence of the types of crimes that are best combated by a visible and proactive policing presence. Unfortunately this is simply not occurring.
“Independent studies conducted by the highly-respected National Institute of Economic and Industry Research confirms that the Bass Coast and Baw Baw region needs an extra 56 frontline police in order to provide an adequate proactive and reactive policing service.”
Snr Sgt Davies said the “members at Bass Coast do a truly magnificent job in trying to keep the community safe with very limited resources.
“Notwithstanding their tireless commitment, it is most unfortunate that the communities they serve are being short-changed by the Brumby Government when it comes to police numbers,” he said.
“Under John Brumby’s watch, Victoria continues to languish as the national wooden spooners when it comes to police numbers and spending on police.
“Victoria not only has the lowest number of police on the beat per capita than any other state or territory, it also spends the least amount of money per capita than any other police force in the country. Unfortunately the public of Bass Coast and Baw Baw feel the brunt of this dubious status.”
Three thousand two hundred and eighty-nine offences were recorded in the Bass Coast region in the last year, as opposed to 2754 in the previous one.
Robbery saw the biggest leap, with a 250 per cent increase in the crime. Overall, theft has increased markedly across the region.
All but a few of the listed crimes were less than the previous year.
But Inspector Brian Curley said the leap in some of the figures was actually due to greater police activity.
“Police operations helped contribute to a 70 per cent increase in the number of regulated public order offences that were detected by the police. An increase in this category is seen as a positive trend, and is an indicator of increased police activity,” he said. “Likewise, the greater focus on drug-related activity resulted in a 9.5 per cent increase in the number of drug offences
While household burglaries were down on the previous year, other thefts have continued to rise. “Unfortunately, increases occurred in a number of offence categories such as property damage, theft from motor car and theft of motor car. These areas will become our priority focus for the next financial year,” Inspector Curley said.
“Analysis has revealed that a high proportion of the theft from motor car offences involved unlocked vehicles or vehicles that had valuable property left in visible locations in the car.
“We will be seeking to reduce that trend through a number of public information and crime prevention strategies during the year. In relation to the theft of car category, the theft of motorcycles continues to be an area of concern, particularly from rural properties.”
Inspector Curley said “pleasing results were achieved” on the region’s roads, with serious injury collisions declining by over 20 per cent.
“This is an excellent result considering the increase in the resident population and visitor numbers over recent years.
Single vehicles running off the road and striking objects such as trees is one of the most common factors for serious injury collisions in the area,” he said.
“Driving to the conditions and not driving when fatigued will help to reduce the risk of being involved in a serious collision.
Motorcycle collisions have also increased over the past few years and will be another area of focus during the coming year.”
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