FRANKSTON’S Bayside Shopping Centre has been earmarked for one of 12 new police “shopfronts” if the Liberal Nationals coalition wins the November state election.
The $7.2 million plan to put police inside some of the state’s main shopping centres is described as a “new approach to policing and community engagement providing a more visible police presence to deter crime”.
Bayside’s executive general manager Justin Mills said the opposition’s proposal was “another way we can build on our longstanding partnership with Victoria Police, to engage our communities, and make our centres destinations people love to visit and connect with.”
The shopfronts are the opposition’s latest law and order proposal to counter what it says is a “crime wave with assaults up 17.2 per cent, theft up 15.7 per cent and robbery up 32.4 per cent under Labor”.
Other shopping centres to get police will be built outside Chadstone, Highpoint, Northland, Craigieburn, Doncaster, The Glen, Southland, Eastland, Knox City, Fountain Gate and Westfield Geelong.
The shopping centres will supply space for the shopfronts.
Frankston Detective Senior Sergeant Michael Lamb – the endorsed Liberal candidate for Frankston – described the shopfronts concept as an “outstanding idea”.
“It’s a good use of police resources and will increase the police presence in a place where lots of people are,” he said.
Detective Lamb, now stationed at Mornington, said the shopfronts – to be manned by “extra police” – were part of a “pro-active initiative to help make Victoria safe again”.
They are part of a package of opposition policies on justice, including reforming bail and parole laws and a mandatory sentencing regime.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy, who went to Highpoint at Maribyrnong to simultaneously announce the shopfronts, said a coalition government would “work collaboratively with police and shopping centre operators to proactively improve community safety for visitors, retailers, their staff and local communities”.
“There is a real opportunity to improve community safety for the tens of thousands of Victorians who visit our large shopping and entertainment centres every day,” he said.
“Shopping centres are major focal points for the community and among the most visited places across Victoria.
“Victorians deeply respect the work our police do but they want to see them more engaged in the community for reassurance, prevention and as community leaders.”
He said the opposition had “consulted widely in the development of this policy initiative with Victoria Police, the police association and shopping centre operators” who, he said, were “happy to partner with police and provide space for police shopfronts and associated facilities”.