Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell questioning police numbers in Shepparton appears to be primarily politically motivated and lacking a basis in fact.
In a statement yesterday, Ms Lovell pointed to ‘‘community concerns up to 10 member positions are to be removed and given to other stations in the policing division’’.
But little further detail is provided on where the concerns emanate from.
Clearly the provision of police numbers is of paramount concern for community safety and especially the perception of a safe place to live, work and play.
But the data provided begs the question: is this is as concerning as Ms Lovell suggests?
It was announced last month that 20 new police custody officers would be deployed in Greater Shepparton and seven new police were allocated to the Shepparton Police Station.
The increase in numbers was part of the Andrews Government’s rollout of its $2 billion investment in Victoria Police.
It appears the concerns Ms Lovell has referenced were born out of the announcement of the new PCOs and she called on Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville to commit to maintaining the current number of uniformed officers at the station.
Perhaps the bigger question remains: what exactly did Ms Lovell do to assist the problem when she was in government?
Ms Lovell has demonstrated, in the past, that highlighting the lack of police numbers in small towns brings with it popularity among the local community.
She was relentless in her approach to restoring uniformed police numbers at Tatura Police Station and the community was thankful for her assistance when there was a clear need for concern.
The News attends police responses to emergencies on a regular basis and police presence rarely appears to be a concern observed by those on the scene.
The Shepparton station recently received two new uniformed police as part of the Victorian Government’s funding to allocate further staff, as well as five new family violence specialists, who will also free up more uniformed staff to get back on the frontline.
But it is not the responsibility of the government to decide where new officers should be sent, rather it is the job of Victoria Police which uses a complex method to decipher which stations are in the greatest need of a staff injection.