Somerville Police Station

I raise a matter for the Acting Minister for Police. The action I seek is that the minister immediately provide sufficient additional frontline police to open the Somerville police station, allowing it to fulfil its intended purpose of keeping Somerville and surrounding communities safer. With the Andrews Labor government intervening to prevent police being provided to enable the Somerville police station to open and no additional police being provided to the Hastings police station by this government, crime across the Hastings electorate has escalated alarmingly.

After promising faithfully that it would not do so, this government is again closing down or reducing the hours of police stations across the state. It was not enough to be denying Somerville its police station; this government is now intending to close the Hastings police station at night, the same station this government claims that people from Somerville can access whenever they want to.

In 2010 while the Brumby Labor government was in office it was commonplace to read and hear about violence throughout the state — knife and machete attacks in King Street, bikie and gangland wars, and general lawlessness across the state. Television series were made about those lawless days. It was at that time, under Labor, that Victoria had the lowest number of police officers per 100 000 population of any state in Australia. That damning fact was one of the many reasons Labor was removed from office in November 2010.

The elected coalition government promised to provide an extra 1700 police officers and delivered 1900. It promised to provide 940 protective service officers and delivered 950. Over the term of the coalition government police numbers went up, crime came down, hoon driving and graffiti were reduced and general lawlessness was diminished. Victoria was a safer place to live, work and raise a family.

Fast forward to today, and where are we? We have the Andrews Labor government, and after 18 months Victoria is being overrun by criminals. Crime figures released last week by the Crime Statistics Agency for the period December 2014 to December 2015 show an alarming increase in crime throughout my electorate. Crime is up a disturbing 15.9 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively across the Casey and Mornington Peninsula local government areas.

Communities across my electorate have been exposed to huge increases in crime in townships like Baxter, where crime is up 27.8 per cent; Blind Bight, up 36.1 per cent; Bittern, up 38 per cent; Cannons Creek, up 36.1 per cent; Crib Point, up 10.3 per cent; Cranbourne South, up 24 per cent; Devon Meadows, up 24 per cent; French Island, up 200 per cent; Langwarrin South, up 27.8 per cent; Pearcedale, up 2.2 per cent; Somerville, up 2.2 per cent; Tooradin, up 36.1 per cent; Tyabb up 27.5 per cent; and Warneet, up 36 per cent. No-one should be surprised by these figures, because Labor is a recidivist. It has always been soft on crime, and again this government has refused to commit to any additional police. It has relaxed laws and reduced penalties.

The people of Somerville have been calling for a police station for their community for more than 15 years. From before 2000 the Somerville community has been writing letters, and it has done everything in its power to get a police station. The coalition government promised to build one, and it did. Just one month before the 2014 election the former Chief Commissioner of Police, Ken Lay, wrote to me outlining how the Somerville police station would be used to serve the Somerville community. A short time later the Andrews government intervened to stop any police being provided to allow it to open; instead a few traffic and crime cop units are there. This magnificent building is a true tragedy for the Somerville community.