Wyndham has less police on the beat now than it did in September of 2015, despite soaring population.
Wyndham police numbers have fluctuated in the past three years, according to figures supplied by the state opposition.
There were 88.03 full-time equivalent (FTE) police stationed in the area in November, 2014. Wyndham’s police numbers jumped up to 120.97 FTE by September, 2015, but the most recent figures show a decline in staffing numbers, with 106.34 FTE police in September last year.
In comparison, there are 173.16 FTE police officers stationed in Brimbank despite the area having a smaller population.
Wyndham, Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay also share 220 FTE police across the crime investigation unit, sexual offences and child abuse investigation team, highway patrol and other divisional resources.
In a statement, Victoria Police said Wyndham was in the midst of receiving 27 new police, with the final officers to be in place by April. Another 10 have been allocated to the crime investigation unit and sexual offences and child abuse investigations teams.
“Whilst it may seem that police officers allocated to the Wyndham police service area (PSA) have fluctuated in previous years, this is accounted for by specialist units, including the highway patrol and the crime investigation units, previously having been included in PSA figures, whereas they are now counted against the broader division,” the statement read.
Victoria Police did not confirm when specialist unit police were removed from PSA figures.
Wyndham council’s safer communities portfolio holder Kim McAliney said it was no secret Wyndham police were “being placed under enormous pressure” by rapid population growth.
“Without a doubt, we need more frontline police in Wyndham so that their visibility, effectiveness and, above all, response times can be improved,” Cr McAliney said.
“Recent discussions with Police Minister Lisa Neville and Victoria Police leadership have made us confident that more police will be allocated to Wyndham in the near future.”
Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said Wyndham was understaffed.
“The best way to ensure the policing needs of the community in Wyndham are met is through the introduction of minimum staffing levels,” he said.
The state government did not respond to Star Weekly’s request for comment by deadline.