Police numbers fall says MP
-LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The Labor Government’s neglect of Victoria Police is putting the safety of Northern Victorian communities at risk, with rising crime rates and declining police numbers.
Local stations in Castlemaine, Maryborough and Kyneton are being forced to reduce their opening hours, and single officer police stations located in rural communities are at risk.
There has been an alarming increase in crime across Northern Victoria, particularly in youth crime and farm crime.
In some areas criminal incident rates jumped by 13 per cent in just one year.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to prevent crime with fewer officers on duty.
Labor promised to recruit up to 2000 new officers, but the latest Victoria Police annual report confirmed that there are 319 fewer police officers compared to last year.
Only recently, police minister Anthony Carbines stated there were no staffing problems across Victoria Police, yet there are 800 general Victoria Police vacancies, with an annual exodus of 500 officers from the force, and more than 800 police officers off duty on WorkCover.
It has come to light that one out of every five police officers are set to depart from their roles in the upcoming year, resulting in a loss of 3500 dedicated officers from active duty.
A study by Swinburne University has revealed that a staggering 67 per cent of officers feel burnt out, workload pressure is skyrocketing, and stress levels have reached unprecedented heights.
Police whistleblowers have raised the alarm, stating that major crimes, including sexual assault, are taking three years to be investigated.
Intervention orders are not being served on time, police vehicles remain idle, and stations are closing without notice.
Police shortages are now affecting vital front-line services.
Community safety is a key priority, and Premier Jacinta Allan needs to prioritise better staffing for our local stations.
Gaelle Broad MP
Upper house MP for Northern Victoria Region