Daniel Andrews must accept ADF support as police resources stretched

Victoria Police resources are “significantly stretched” after being deployed to public housing according to Police Association Victoria (TPA) Secretary Wayne Gatt.

This highlights the urgent need for Daniel Andrews to call in Australian Defence Force (ADF) support in response to Victoria’s worsening COVID-19 pandemic. Why the Premier hasn’t done this already, is mystifying.

With Victoria’s hard lockdown now extending to 42 suburbs and nine high density public housing buildings, the demands on Victoria Police resources are growing by the day as outbreaks of coronavirus continue to rise throughout the community.

TPA Secretary Wayne Gatt has also stated only half the officers required to patrol every floor have been made available, and that frontline officers are currently operating without clear health and management guidelines. We’ve seen how badly hotel quarantine has been messed up under the Andrews Labor Government. This is another Daniel Andrews disaster waiting to happen.

These warnings come as thousands of ADF personnel stand ready to be rapidly deployed into Victoria. They could easily assist in a range of health, logistics, counselling and support areas. They’ve been described by Federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds as being “well trained and practiced” in COVID-19 health protocols.

Despite the availability of ADF support, last month the Andrews Labor Government rescinded a request for ADF support from Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp. Daniel Andrews’ ridiculous decision has left Victoria short of frontline support and in a worryingly vulnerable position.

Victoria Police has now diverted more resources in response to COVID-19 than the summer bushfires. It’s clear additional support is needed to ensure Victoria’s already escalating violent crime problems, do not spiral further out of hand.

Daniel Andrews cannot afford to delay any longer and must urgently request the full support of the ADF to assist in Victoria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comments attributable to David Southwick MP, Shadow Minister for Police and Community Safety:

“During the recent bushfires, Victorians have seen the excellent work Victoria Police and the ADF do together during times of crisis. So why is Daniel Andrews refusing help now?

“With threats that these outbreaks will get worse, we need a plan before it’s too late. We can't leave frontline police short-handed to fight already escalating violent crime on Victorian streets.

“During this pandemic community safety must remain a priority. It’s clear Victoria needs additional support to keep frontline police in the community and keep Victorians safe.”

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