Police officers will set up shop at Craigieburn Central if the Coalition wins November’s state election.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy has vowed to open police “shop fronts” in 12 of Victoria’s busiest shopping centres, as part of a $7.2 million election pledge aimed at reducing crime.
The shop fronts will be staffed by at least two officers during the centres’ main operating hours.
Others centres picked to be part of the program include Highpoint, Chadstone and Northland.
Opposition police spokesman Edward O’Donohue visited Craigieburn Central on Monday to announce the centre’s participation in the project.
He said the centre had been chosen because of the “enormous growth” around Craigieburn.
“Craigieburn Central is a general community hub. It is the centre of activity,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“We want to be taking the police to where the people are.”
Mr O’Donohue said the project aimed to increase the police presence in the community.
“Shopping centres are entertainment hubs as much as they are shopping destinations and where ever there are millions of people visiting each year, you are going to have anti-social activity,” he said.
“We believe police can play a role in crime prevention in the centres, talking to retailers about how to protect their stores and provide a quick response when there is an incident.”
According to Crime Statistics Agency data, thefts from retail stores rose 6 per cent to 591 offences between September 2016 and September 2017.
Mr O’Donohue said the opposition has consulted with the owners of the 12 participating centres, as well as Victoria Police and the Police Association.
A spokesman for Lendlease, which owns Craigieburn Central, said the company was open to working with police to enhance the safety and liveability of Craigieburn.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers, retailers and staff is our number one priority. Craigieburn Central features comprehensive security including round-the-clock patrols to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all visitors,” he said.