MPs argue police hours

By Callan Date
A LOCAL MP has defended the ongoing decision to close the Endeavour Hills Police Station at night.
Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan said recent comments from South Eastern Metropolitan MP Gordon Rich-Phillips were part of a scare campaign being generated by the Victorian Liberal Party.
“The fastest-rising crime in Casey is fear – fear generated by the Liberal Party,” Mr Donnellan said.
His quote follows Mr Rich-Phillips’ speech in Parliament last week, which outlined an increase in crime in the City of Casey.
“It is not good enough for the Government to claim credit when crime rates fall and then say that any increases in crime rates are recorded merely because more people are reporting crime,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
The debate follows an article in the News in August highlighting a campaign to reinstate the Heatherton Road police complex to a 24-hour station.
When the station first opened in March 2005, the Government said it would operate as a 24-hour facility.
However, it is now closed between 11pm and 7am every night.
“Crime rates have risen slightly in some areas like personal assault, where we have seen substantial increases in the reporting of family violence,” Mr Donnellan said.
“For many years this crime was ignored.
Unfortunately we have a substantial problem in the Casey District and that’s why we have a dedicated unit in the Narre Warren Police Station dealing directly with this issue.
“If you look at homicide and theft of motor vehicles they are all down substantially,” he said.
But Mr Rich-Phillips is standing behind his comments.
“When I raised this matter earlier this year the Government hid behind Force Command, who said they found it was no longer necessary to maintain a 24-hour police station at Endeavour Hills,” he said.
“The people of Endeavour Hills deserve a 24-hour police station.”
Casey police Inspector Paul Ross has defended the decision to shut the station, saying very few people had visited the station during the past year.
“Patrol units continue to operate out of the station 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the phones at Endeavour Hills are diverted to Narre Warren when the station is not manned,” Insp Ross said.

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