Minister for Police Questioned over under-resourced Police

Parliament of Victoria – Search Hansard

Mr WELLS (Rowville) (12:44:21) — (14 171) The question I wish to raise is for the Minister for Police. Minister, do you find it acceptable that hardworking small business owners are falling prey to criminals while Victoria Police are too under-resourced to follow up blatant cases of theft? A resident in my electorate witnessed a very nasty exchange at a local restaurant in Rowville, where he works, where a couple left at the end of their meal and refused to pay their bill. Both of them refused to pay the restaurant and told the restaurant owners that they were leaving without paying because they knew there was nothing either the restaurant or the police could do about it. When the restaurant phoned the police, the police confirmed that there was nothing the police could do about the theft. Minister, this is obviously an ongoing scam. It is disheartening for restaurant owners and their workers who are unable to rely on police to take any action.

 

Answer 

The Andrews Labor Government is committed to ensuring that Victoria Police has the powers and resources it needs to reduce harm in the community and keep Victorians safe.

In relation to the incident you describe, it is unclear if an actual offence has occurred and this can only be confirmed by speaking with the alleged offenders and restaurant owner. I am informed by Victoria Police that there is no ongoing scam in the Rowville area but rather this is an isolated incident.

In relation to the crime rate in the area more broadly, I am pleased to advise that the latest Crime Statistics show that recorded offences in the Knox Local Government Area decreased by 7 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016. Property and deception offences decreased by 11.3 per cent, with decreases in all sub-categories including Burglary/break and enter (8.9 per cent); Theft (10.5 per cent) and Deception (24.4 per cent); Arson (16.1 per cent); Property damage (6.7 per cent).

Many Victorian communities can look forward to seeing an increased police presence in their area with the roll out of additional frontline police across the state. Commencing in May 2018, Victoria Police will deploy a total of 825 additional police officers during 2018-19. This boost in resources is funded as part of the Government’s $2 billion investment in police under the Community Safety Statement 2017. It is the second wave of police resources to hit the beat since the deployment of additional frontline police funded under the 2016-17 State Budget.

As part of this deployment an additional 2 police have been allocated to the Knox Police Service Area, which services suburbs in the Rowville electorate.  This is in addition to the 8 family violence specialists which will be shared across the broader division.

The Government’s record investment in police and community safety is making a real difference, with the continuing decline in the overall crime rate in Victoria since June 2017.

The Hon Lisa Neville MP

Minister for Police