September 12, 2017

Although Victoria Police is recruiting another 3,000 officers, none of them will be coming anywhere near Rochester.

ROCHESTER residents’ plea for more police is falling on deaf ears.

Although Victoria Police is recruiting another 3,000 officers, none of them will be coming anywhere near us.

Speaking to Campaspe News on Thursday, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said allocations to northern Victoria had not started yet.

‘‘At the moment those (3,000) officers are going into the south-east and western corridors of Melbourne — very fast-growing areas as our modelling is telling us we’re well down in that area,’’ he said.

‘‘Then we’re going to look at broader allocations across the state, so this part of the state will be able to see what those allocations look like soon.’’

Policing was the number one concern for people who took part in the recent Rochester Community House survey.

It follows a spike in crime in Rochester, which has seen several businesses broken into in the past few months.

Eighteen people voted that the police presence wasn’t enough and that a 24-hour station was needed.

‘‘We are looking at stations in relation to 24-hour stations and we haven’t made a decision in relation to that (Rochester) station,’’ Mr Ashton said.

‘‘It’s really going to depend on our service model for how many people are on patrol because what we want to do at the moment is have highly visible patrols so what we do want to avoid as much as possible is officers having to be in police stations behind counters.

‘‘We need to provide a service where people can come to talk to police but, importantly, we want them out and visible. That will be the big decision.’’

Mr Ashton said he believed there was enough manpower at Echuca police station to cover smaller towns like Rochester at present.

‘‘Rochester is well served by Echuca and neighbouring stations,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re very good and experienced police here and they know the community really well.

‘‘I’ve been to the (Echuca) station a number of times over the past two years and they’re really experienced police who value and know the community and I think the community is well served by the police.’’

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