The issue of rising crime rates in areas of rural and regional Victoria and less police to enforce the law is a concern to country communities.
This is the view of Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, who spoke on the matter in State Parliament this week.
“What is concerning is we have police statistics that show the number of full-time equivalent sworn officers in rural and regional Victoria fell by over 80 between November 2014 and June 2016. In 2014 it was 9841 and by June it was 9759,” he said.
“This reduction has occurred while we have seen crime rates spiral, in Wellington Shire it has increased by 18% and in East Gippsland by 10%.
“In fact 72 of Victoria’s local government areas recorded an increase in crime rates, some as high as 40%.
“If we had made a concerted effort to increase police numbers in that time it would be hard to be critical, but we’ve seen a drop in many areas and only very minor increases in some, but the reality is we have seen an overall reduction, which is not good enough when crime rates are rising.
“Despite raising this time and time again in Parliament, the Government has only just committed to increasing police numbers of any significance in this state and hopefully that will result in the police we have lost in rural regions being replaced,” Mr Bull said.
HOLIDAY POLICE RESOURCING NEEDED
“The other matter I have continually raised is the need for additional policing from outside the region to assist our local officers in peak holiday times, as used to occur.
“The reason I stress ‘from outside the region’ is because there is no use sending officers from Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota as Bairnsdale has its own influx and has to cover locations like Paynesville and Eagle Point as well.
“We need more officers from outside East Gippsland when we have situations like in Lakes Entrance where the population rises from 6500 to around 60,000 and Mallacoota rises from 1000 to 5000. Regular police rosters cannot cope with this without assistance,” Mr Bull said.
Thursday, November 24, 2016