BY TRISTAN MADDOCKS
A LACK of “on the beat” police in Monash is responsible for a vandalism spree in which up to six bus shelters in Glen Waverley and Mt Waverley were damaged last week, Mt Waverley Liberal candidate Michael Gidley says.
Mr Gidley said bus shelters in Blackburn and High Street roads, Miller Crescent and Syndal railway station were targeted in late-night attacks.
“There are two concerns: that the damage has occurred and that it occurred in such highly visible areas,” he said.
“Vandals and hoons know there is a lack of police on the beat in Monash, and are taking advantage of this shortage to engage in criminal behaviour.”
Mr Gidley cited a recent Productivity Commission report that showed Victoria Police had the lowest number of operational police of any Australian state or territory.
Southern Metropolitan Liberal MP David Davis linked Monash police numbers to a rise in violent crime.
“According to rosters obtained by the Opposition under freedom of information, Mt Waverley police station had only 17 officers at the end of 2008, and I have been told by locals involved in Neighbourhood Watch that a further five officers have since been cut from the station,” he said.
Mr Davis said police needed to be visible, able to intervene in communities and able to send a message to criminals.
But State Government spokesman Chris Owner said there were more police on the beat than ever before in Victoria and another 470 would be added in this term of government. “There have never been more police in
Victoria than right now, and in Monash there has been no reduction in police officers.
“In fact, there has been a 7.5per cent increase since 1999.”
Overall, crime had decreased in Monash by 29.2per cent between 2000 and 2009, Mr Owner said.