Caroline Springs police station will be open 24 hours a day if the state Coalition wins the next election.

The opposition made the pledge last week, saying the community has been crying out for extended hours at the station which currently closes for eight hours each night.

Opposition police spokesman Edward O’Donohue said the area needed a round the clock police presence.

“You can’t fight crime if the local police station is closed,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“People have a right to feel safe in their own homes.”

The opposition said crime in the Melton Police Area has increased 17.8 per cent since the 2014 election, however the most recent crime statistics showed a 3 per cent improvement in the past 12 months.

State police minister Lisa Neville said 16 extra officers were being added to the Caroline Springs force, and having police on patrol was more important than manning a station overnight.

“Part of the decision of Victoria Police, and rightly it sits with them, is they want police out on patrols,” Ms Neville said. “At the moment Caroline Springs gets a 24-hour service directly from the station, with a divvy van out on patrol all night … if Matthew Guy was to convince the chief commissioner that this was the way to go, that would mean that overnight patrol would be reduced.

“I know in my meetings with residents that they want to see police out on patrol. Sitting behind a counter does not do that.”

The Police Association said police numbers have failed to keep up with population growth. Secretary Wayne Gatt backed the opposition’s moves to extend the station’s hours.

“We know that a 24-hour police station that is open to the public provides a place of refuge for people in need of police support,” Mr Gatt said.

“It’s common sense that a better resourced 24-hour station would be in a better position to serve the needs of the large and growing community at Caroline Springs. This is not a small country town, rather a busy metropolitan community.

“The public want police when they call them and they draw comfort and security in knowing they can walk into their local police station and speak face to face with a police officer.”