Point Cook cop shop bid gains traction

Point Cook could have a new police station under construction this time next year if the west’s newest upper house politician has her way.

Rachel Carling-Jenkins, who was elected in the western metropolitan region in last November’s state election, is keen to see funding for a new police station in Point Cook in the 2016-17 state budget.

She had already raised the issue with Police Minister Wade Noonan through the budget estimates process.

Ms Carling-Jenkins, a member of the Democratic Labour Party, said Wyndham did not have enough police officers and stations to cope with population growth.

“Wyndham is the fastest-growing local government area in Victoria,” she said.

“Point Cook alone will see its population increase by around 45 per cent over the next 20 years.

“This growth factor is already putting a very demanding strain on officers based at Werribee police station, which is already stretched above and beyond its limit.

“No station should have to triage important calls. Resourcing police in Wyndham to an adequate level which keeps up with community growth is essential for public and domestic safety.”

Figures from the Police Association reveal Wyndham has 45 first-response officers for every 100,000 people in the municipality, compared with a state average of 102 officers for every 100,000 people.

Wyndham police would need another 159 first-response officers in the next five years to reach and then maintain the current Victorian ratio.

Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said police members should be close to the communities they served and protected.

“It takes longer for police stationed at Werribee – who are already desperately short-staffed and stretched to the limit – to respond to calls for assistance from Point Cook,” he said.

“Until this situation is urgently fixed the Wyndham community and our members will continue to be short- changed”.

Tony Hooper, of the Point Cook Action Group, said a police station in Point Cook would take pressure off the Werribee and Wyndham North stations.

“We applaud any politician coming out and looking at police numbers in Point Cook and Wyndham,” he said. “We seriously hope that if there’s discussion about a new police station, that also involves new police officers and the resources they need to make it an effective station.”

Police Minister Wade Noonan said the need for new and upgraded police stations needed to be “considered along with other priorities across the state”.

“We are continuing to talk with Victoria Police and take their advice about future priorities for locations that require new or upgraded stations, including Point Cook,” he said.