Wodonga police resources have reached breaking point | border mail

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A call has been made for more police in the North East as victims of crime wait hours for officers to show up, with police sometimes not present at all. The Wodonga region was left with just one general duty van to attend to incidents, with the unit sometimes busy for hours with jobs. Concerns have been raised over incidents in recent weeks and months, including a reported breach at a home in Wodonga where a man intervened in a violent incident and was crushed in the head with a bottle of beer . Benambra MP Bill Tilley recently said officers of Parliament never showed up, despite multiple Triple-0 calls. He said in another incident in February, a car ran into a mother in the street and it took police more than four hours to drive around the scene. Mr Tilley, a former officer, said other incidents included an incident where it took police nine months to act when a response order was breached. “I could go on with all these case histories, but at the beginning of [March] I understand that there were 28 members of the police in Division Four of the Eastern Region sick or broken due to workload and/or management practices,” he said. It’s not just about responding to incidents, it’s about follow-ups, investigations and paperwork that are falling by the wayside. “Injuries to mental health and the causes of those injuries cannot be ignored.” Mr Tilley called for an urgent investigation and police association secretary Wayne Gatt called for change. “Having enough police in stations to cover staff on leave for a number of reasons is essential to the functioning of a local police station, and indeed a police force,” he said. “We need to bring the police back into police stations and into the community, where they belong. “That requires more police resources and a commitment to put those resources into areas where there are staffing shortages. “The community expects and deserves prompt police action when needed.” Mr Tilley said local officers were not responsible for the situation. IN OTHER NEWS: He said during the incident where a man was attacked with a bottle, an ambulance had to wait up the street for the police to arrive. The victim finally went to the hospital, the agents having not arrived. A divisional van was permanently pulled from the road last year. The police command said it was incorrect to link the absences to mental health issues. Superintendent Joy Arbuthnot said more personnel are heading to Wodonga, with some of the members due to start work next month. “While there are a small number of local officers currently on unplanned leave and a few vacancies that are currently being recruited, we want to assure the community of Wodonga that we still have police officers on the road, ensuring the community safety and responding to incidents as they occur,” she said. “A number of new police officers will start in Wodonga in the near future, with three new sergeants expected to start in May, while two more officers will start next month. “Local general duty police are supported by other police officers from other units in the event of major incidents requiring police intervention.” Superintendent Arbuthnot said the Wodonga station was open 24 hours a day. Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date information to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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