Crime in the Euroa electorate

21 September 2017

Ms RYAN (Euroa) — The adjournment matter I raise this evening is for the Minister for Police, and the action I seek is that she visit my electorate to hear firsthand from the people who are being impacted by the wave of crime sweeping country Victoria. The Andrews government continues to talk about its investment in frontline police numbers, but the reality is that after almost three years there are only 134 extra police across Victoria. Per capita this is well below where police numbers were in November 2014 and at least 200 police below what Victoria needs based on the state's population growth rate.

Crime is increasing across the Euroa electorate. Our police, who are working at the front line, are struggling to keep up. I want to commend the work of my local police, who do an outstanding job, but they, like the rest of us, cannot be in two places at once. Last month intruders invaded the home of Peter Cocks. Peter does not live in St Kilda, South Yarra or Sunshine; he lives at Waranga Shores. Luckily Peter scared them off and no-one was hurt, but he tried to call local police at Rushworth and Murchison for an hour and a half following the incident but with no answer. His call was not diverted. He has since spoken with staff at Echuca and Kyabram stations, who told him they are severely understaffed. Peter has now installed security measures because he does not feel safe in his own home.

In Shepparton earlier this year Sharon Moore was home alone one evening over a long weekend when at 5.40 p.m. two men tried to break into her house. Terrified, she immediately called 000 to request police assistance. She waited for police to arrive, but they never showed. Luckily Sharon's dog became defensive, which scared the men off, but Sharon wonders what may have happened if it had not been for her dog. When Sharon visited the police station during the following days, she was told that there were seven call-outs at a similar time as hers and there were not enough police to meet demand. On Sunday I dropped by the Avenel Maze to talk with Jane Stary. Jane was in the process of cleaning up after having been robbed of tools and more than $4000 in cash the night before.

These stories are just a few of the many. Local police are under pressure and are under-resourced. They are dealing with a sentencing regime that often does not support them. When they arrest someone the offender in some instances beats them back out onto the street. The Nationals along with our Liberal colleagues have promised to put the rights of victims before the rights of criminals. We have pledged to change bail laws to make Victorians safer and introduce a presumption of remand for repeat violent offenders. We have also promised to reinstate funding for Neighbourhood Watch, which was cut under this government. By contrast, Labor is soft on crime and has under-resourced our police force, leaving country Victorians exposed.

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