Wimmera police stations could close under new plan

CONCERN: A radical plan to overhaul Victoria's policing system might lead to fewer police stations in the Wimmera.

CONCERN: A radical plan to overhaul Victoria's policing system might lead to fewer police stations in the Wimmera.

A RADICAL plan to overhaul Victoria's policing system might lead to fewer police stations in the Wimmera.

Last week, Victoria Police released its Blue Paper, a 62-page document outlining a vision for the structure of the force.

The report advocates for 'divisional supersites' to replace the current organisation of police stations in Victoria.

"These supersites will be larger, consolidated facilities, which will replace the current model of multiple, smaller and less operationally-effective sites," the report said.

Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said he feared for policing in the Wimmera if the report's recommendations were implemented.

"The Police Association would hold serious concerns about the future of 16-hour and one-member stations in the Wimmera and other parts of country Victoria if some aspects of the Victoria Police force's Blue Paper ever get to see the light of day," he said.

"The concept of establishing superstations or hubs that would house police and be centred around smaller unmanned kiosks or shopfronts, as the Blue Paper advocates, is extremely concerning."

Mr Iddles said Wimmera police were an important part of the community.

"Police are part of the fabric of smaller country towns like those in the Wimmera," he said.

"Once you tear at that fabric by removing police from those communities, then that fabric will never be as strong again.

"We would strongly caution Victoria Police command against indulging in such unwise thought bubbles and start reassuring the people of country towns that they will not lose their police stations and their first-response officers, not now nor in the future."

Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said the government needed to reveal how policing in the Wimmera would be affected.

"Premier Denis Napthine and Police Minister Kim Wells offered unqualified support for the police blueprint before it was even released," she said.

The government is yet to reveal which measures contained in the report it would seek to implement.

Mr Wells said the government was providing more funding and resources to police than any other government in Victoria's history.

"The government welcomes the release of the chief commissioner's Blue Paper aimed at modernising and enhancing Victoria's police force," he said.

"The Coalition Government is a significant stakeholder and is currently considering the content and details of issues raised within the paper."

Wimmera police were unable to provide comment before the Mail-Times went to press.

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