Police Association says stations could close

Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles

FRESH concerns have been raised for the future of single-officer police stations in the Ballarat region.

Police Association of Victoria secretary Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles said single-officer stations in close proximity to 16-hour stations could come under threat from the Victoria Police blue paper.

The concerns come after Fairfax Media revealed two single-officer stations have remained unoccupied since closing in 2010.

The single-officer stations at Cressy, near Colac, and Piangil, in the Mallee, were among eight unoccupied stations reviewed in 2012 and given a commitment by Chief Commissioner Ken Lay that they would remain open.

But more than two years later, both stations remain empty.

There are currently nine single-officer stations in the Ballarat police service area.

“Ironically, while we have Liberal and Labor saying they will not close a police station, the Chief Commissioner does have the ability to not resource a station which effectively closes it,” Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said.

“The station is technically shut but not officially closed.” Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said single-officer police stations provided a wealth of intelligence on any given small community.

“Once a community knows there is no police officer living in the area or working at the local station, it’s easy for criminal activity to increase because the chances of being detected are remote,” he said.

A Victoria Police spokesman said the rostering of police resources was currently being reviewed in some areas.

“As our Blue Paper suggests, we need to ensure the rostering of police resources reflects service demand,” the spokesman said.

“In some areas, this is being reviewed or has been reviewed.

“The location of many current police stations reflect an outdated model of allocating police according to population, not crime rates or emerging crime trends.

“Many stations are based on 19th century patterns with a day’s horse ride between them.”

The spokesman said there were no current plans to close any stations in the Ballarat police service area.

Both the Victorian Coalition and Labor have pledged to not close any police stations.

– With The Age

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