community safety | June 16, 2015
Bath questions Police Minister over custody officers for Gippsland
Tuesday 16th June 2015
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath has questioned the Police Minister over whether Morwell Police Station will be issued with custody officers to help manage prisoners and free up police.
Speaking in parliament last week Ms Bath said the Minister for Police, Wade Noonan had stated that Victoria would recruit 400 custody officers to relieve pressure on police officers guarding prisoners in cells.
“Additional custody officers would help free up police so they could return to frontline policing in our communities and this is something the Coalition supported prior to the election,” Ms Bath said.
“In Morwell the police station houses six cells which require adequate staffing for the supervision of prisoners and now that it is six months into Labor’s term of Government I have questioned the police Minister as to when the recruitment and training of these custody officers will begin.”
Ms Bath said Gippsland had been neglected by the Andrews Government with initial deployment of custody officers listed for other regional areas such as Ballarat and Geelong.
“When will the hardworking police members of the Morwell police station be relieved of day-to-day management of prisoners in custody cells,” Ms Bath asked the Minister in parliament.
Before the election the Coalition committed to boosting police numbers with 250 frontline police and 50 new protective service officers.
“Our five year $387.8 million package included outsourcing police cell management to allow 450 current officers to move back onto the beat along with recruiting 250 specialist positions to tackle online crime and fraud, counter terrorism and forensics,” Ms Bath said.
“In contrast we have seen no additional police from Labor and despite the Andrews Government promising 400 Custody Officers to relieve some of the pressure we are yet to see any of these officers recruited.”
Ms Bath said Labor had funded just 15 new police officers across the entire state in this year’s state budget.
“This is in stark contrast to the 1900 police the Coalition delivered during our four year term as well as more than 950 protective services officers to support local communities,” she said.
The Coalition has started a petition calling on Daniel Andrews to urgently address the situation and commit to additional police.
The petition can be signed by visiting www.change.org/p/andrews-labor-government-provide-additional-police-now