Line of duty

By Ivy Jensen

A NEW 24-hour police assistance line allowing Rochester and district residents to report non-urgent crimes and events is expected to improve police response times.

The newly launched Police Assistance Line and Online Reporting service will take reports or give advice at any time on non-urgent crimes and events anywhere in the state.

They include property damage, lost or located property, theft or non-urgent neighbourhood disputes, noise complaints, absence from residence registrations and PartySafe registrations.

Campaspe police Inspector Anthony Vanderzalm said with 30 per cent of all 000 calls non urgent, he expected to see an increase in response times to emergencies as well as a decrease in demand from the public.

‘‘It frees up police which means more time can be spent by police members engaging with their local communities out on the road,’’ he said.

‘‘It also frees up the communities’ time in that they now can report non-urgent matters over the phone and don’t have to drive down to the local police station anymore.

‘‘So I expect to see a reduction in the amount of reports taken by police over the counter not just across the Campaspe Police Service Area but statewide.’’

The Online Reporting service, at, is available through the new-look Victoria Police website.

Calls to the Police Assistance Line, on 131444, are taken by civilian staff at a contact centre in Ballarat, under the supervision of police officers.

‘‘I really see the new reporting process as a tremendous positive,’’ Insp. Vanderzalm said.

‘‘It’s a huge step forward not only for Victoria Police but also the community.’’

Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said the new system would enhance the community’s connection and access to Victoria Police.

‘‘These new avenues of contact to Victoria Police will be available 24/7, making it easier for the community to engage with police for non-emergency help, advice and support,’’ he said.

‘‘These new channels will also reduce the amount of time police spend taking reports on non-urgent crimes, and will improve the way we prioritise and respond to these matters.’’

Over the next 12 months, Victoria Police will run a campaign promoting the PAL and online reporting portal.