By Jackson Russell
The Mitchell Police Service Area will welcome five new officers as part of a rollout out of 788 more police in Victoria over the next 12 months.
Police command announced last week the additional police will be deployed across the state from May, including 41 members across the Goulburn Valley division.
Four of the new members in the Mitchell Police Service Area will be stationed at Seymour and one at Broadford.
Seven police will also be allocated to shared divisional resources across Goulburn Valley in crime scene services and the criminal investigation unit.
Mitchell Police Service Area Inspector Peter Koger said he was pleasantly surprised to receive new members, and the additional officers would help the situation of having to roster officers to work by themselves.
“There’s been a fair bit of work between the Benalla inspector and myself in relation to the occupational health and safety guidelines for two-up watchhouse keepers and members working two-up,” he said.
“It will reduce the risk of possible injury to members that were working one-up in watchhouses and on the road.
“It will also increase service delivery and we may have extra cars on the road that can attend to incidents.”
While Kilmore and Wallan did not receive additional members due to being 16-hour stations, Inspector Koger said he suspected another influx of members would increase the hours of one station to 24 hours.
“I suspect that in the near future, there will be an injection of staff that will make Kilmore or Wallan a 24-hour station,” he said.
“All stations in Mitchell work together in rostering so those members will filter across to assist with Wallan, Kilmore and Broadford. It will be a significant increase across the whole Police Service Area.”
Training at the police academy is already underway with the new officers to be gradually rolled out to police stations and specialist areas over 12 months.
Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said more than 350 of the 788 new positions would be allocated to rural frontline policing, representing the most significant investment in rural policing in Victoria’s Police’s 167-year history.
“The Goulburn Valley community can expect to see an increased visible police presence over the next 12 months,” he said.
“All three police service areas will receive additional general duty officers to bolster their frontline.
“This will not only assist police in identifying offenders and holding them to account, but also in preventing crime and focusing on offences that cause harm to the community.”