Liberals back on beat at police station


Locked out: Liberl MPs Edward O’Donohue and Neale Burgessn show an intercom is the way to gain the attention of police inside the Somerville station. Picture: Gary Sissons

HASTINGS Liberal MP Neale Burgess has not given up on his efforts to have Somerville police station open its doors to the public.

With a state election in November, Mr Burgess last week returned to the police station accompanied by shadow police spokesman Edward O’Donohue and eight “concerned local residents” to emphasise how hard it is to speak with police.

Mr Burgess says the $16.3 million station – “funded and built” by the previous Liberal Nationals coalition government – was originally to be open to the public.

“Victoria Police and its then chief commissioner, Ken Lay, confirmed in writing, shortly before the 2014 state election, that Somerville would open as a fully functional police station, complete with a public service counter, cells and full local policing contingent,” Mr Burgess said.

However, he said, the incoming Labor government changed all that making it “very likely that [the Premier] Daniel Andrews is the first ever premier to play politics with the safety of a community by refusing to open a brand new fully fitted out police station”.

Mr Burgess said police had been sent to “marginal Labor electorates” instead of Somerville.

Mr O’Donohue said that if elected to government in November the coalition “will ensure appropriate numbers of uniformed general duties police are available to Victoria Police to open the Somerville station for local policing and to the public”.

As for Neale Burgess, the long-campaigning MP for Hastings, he “won’t rest until it’s opened and protecting this local community”.

First published in the Western Port News – 27 February 2018


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