The Andrews Labor Government new crime reporting hotline will provide little comfort to Gippsland residents concerned about rising crime.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region said the Andrews Labor Government has splashed $212 million on a new police assistance line and online portal for Victorians to report non-urgent crimes, including theft and property damage.
“We need more police on the beat, not another hotline. Gippslanders know how to phone for help using the tried and true triple zero system,” said Ms Bath.
“This new hotline adds to existing reporting systems including Triple Zero, Crime Stoppers, Victims of Crime Hotline and the National Security Line to name a few.
Recent crime statistics show the number of recorded criminal incidents in Eastern Victoria has risen 11.7% since Daniel Andrews became Premier of Victoria in 2014, with Latrobe Valley having the second highest number of recorded criminal incidents in the state, coming second only to Melbourne.
Ms Bath said a permanent increase in police numbers across Gippsland is needed so hard working police officers are able to execute a timely response.
“Frustratingly our police officers are hamstrung by administrative duties and competing priorities and there is not enough out on the beat.
“The new central police contact centre based in Ballarat will not give Gippslanders confidence that their communities are safer.
“People feel safe when there is a notable police presence and a quick response.
“It is abundantly clear that the number of operational police is inadequate to provide a satisfactory level of policing, despite the best efforts of our existing officers.
Ms Bath said recently the Andrews Labor Government boasted of 709 additional police officers being deployed across Victoria, but disappointingly this only equates to six recruits for Wellington, two for East Gippsland and four for Latrobe, to arrive sometime next year.
“When people call for assistance they need police to turn up, reassure and assist. It is imperative we have sufficient frontline officers to do this.
“Daniel Andrews must do more to ensure Victoria Police have enough resources in Gippsland so officers can promptly attend a crime, not just answer a phone.”