Lakes police station closed too often
A number of complaints have been received in relation to the Lakes Entrance police station only being open “about half the time” over the Christmas holiday period.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said he had received complaints from both visitors and local residents that the station was closed about the same amount of time it was open over the holiday period.
“This is far from an ideal situation when you have a population explosion at this time of year from around 6,500 to over 50,000,” Mr Bull said.
“I raised this matter with the Minister pre-Christmas after concerns were raised with me by local residents and business operators who had heard there would be only additional police on New Year’s Eve, but not over the remainder of the holiday period.
“Unfortunately the Minister showed little interest, stating that police allocation is a matter for police command.
“While I accept that is the case, what I wanted him to do was take up with police command how a police staffing roster that regularly caters for around 6,500 people, can meet the requirements of over 50,000 - without additional resources.
“Despite the previous government putting on an additional 1,900 police, in the past 12 months the total number of sworn-in officers in Victoria has dropped from 13,151 in November 2014 to 13,142 by late 2015. So this government has overseen a reduction of nine officers, while our population continues to grow.
“I would have hoped, at the very least, we could have a redeployment of officers to locations like Lakes Entrance when we know well in advance that the population is going to explode.
“The Minister says additional custody officers will free up more police, but over 12 months into the term of this Government we have none on duty, while police numbers have dropped.
“It is also worth noting none of these custody officers will be assigned to Orbost and Lakes Entrance, if and when they do finally come into service.
“This holiday season is almost complete, but I will again raise this issue with the Minister in the hope he will at least take it up with police command for discussion before the next holiday period as it is not fair on our local officers or our local community,” Mr Bull said.