Targeting high-risk offenders, better supporting victims and preventing road trauma are some of the top priorities for south-west policing in the financial year ahead.
The priorities have been announced by the new Victoria Police western region division two leadership team, who said they were focused on keeping the community and frontline officers safe.
The leadership team - Superintendent Glenn Owen, Warrnambool local area commander Inspector Paul Marshall, Southern Grampians local area commander Inspector Terry Hay and Inspector Gary Coombes (who has moved into tasking and coordination) - said the 2019/20 priorities were built around a "community web of protection".
"Throughout this region we want to reduce crime, target high-risk offenders, support victims and reduce road trauma," Superintendent Glenn Owen said.
"We believe this can be achieved by listening to the community, being better engaged with certain sectors, such as farmers, looking after our members, leaning on our community partnerships and making sure we are in the right places at the right times.
"We want to ensure we are working on the things that the community expects us to be working on, and that our behaviour is living up to their expectations."
Inspector Gary Coombes, who manages specialist units such as the highway patrol and the crime investigation unit, said the top priorities would be monitored on a weekly basis.
"We need to be smart about the deployment of our resources to achieve these priorities," he said.
"We are working very closely together as a team, particularly around road policing where we look to better utilise our resources. You might see highway patrol working with local general duties members to maximise our resource. It is very much a team effort."
Superintendent Owen said sobering road trauma statistics had resulted in a "no borders" police approach to help combat the issue.
"Traditionally we operate within our own service areas but we are trying to strip that away as much as we can, not only within our own division but across the other divisions as well," he said.
"Let's say you've got a highway that runs through police division three, two and one. Traditionally you would have police units targeting only their section of the highway and not worrying about division one and two.
"The Great Ocean Road is a perfect example of that. But we we need to work together. We need cross-border policing in this region to have an overall positive outcome."
Inspector Paul Marshall, who overlooks crime in Warrnambool, Corangamite and Moyne, said his focus was continuing to provide a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week response to victims of crime.
"For every crime committed, there is a victim attached to it," he said.
"When we get involved in any crime, even those at the most basic level, we know it is a really bad day for the person reporting it. We want to respond and support victims of crime as best we possible we can, while also reducing crime in the first place. That's a no-brainer."
Inspector Marshall said local police had been working hard to target high-risk and recidivist offenders.
"If someone wants to go out there and steal stuff, crash their car, drink drive, drug drive, then they can expect us to make it a very hostile environment for them," he said.
"Over the last couple of years we have continued to reduce crime and I think we are pretty proud of that. But for an area to have an increase in crime it needs to have a community that is complacent or tolerant. Fortunately our community is not tolerant.
"If something happens they will speak to us fairly quickly and we will get on top of it. Because that is absolutely our number one objective, to keep the community safe."
Inspector Terry Hay only recently began his new role as the Southern Grampians local area commander.
He brings with him a long career as an investigating detective, working in Melbourne and Ballarat before managing detectives in Horsham, Ararat, Stawell and Geelong.
He said the south-west region had its own challenges despite not having the high-volume of crime he was used to.
"We've got a much bigger area to serve but this service area is staffed by good people and I want to support them to continue to keep this community safe," Inspector Hay said.
"It sounds old fashioned but I'm not looking to over-complicate things. I want to engage with the community to find out what they want and deliver that to them.
"I want our team to be highly visible and approachable in the community and to continue to work hard to hold those committing crime to account.
"That's always our biggest goal in policing. To ensure the community is safe, whether that is in their homes, on the street or on the roads. And to also make sure that the well-being of our members is looked after. If they're not well resourced or physically well then they can't do their jobs."
The leadership team encouraged the community to contact them any time via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
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