Police officers and command at loggerheads over push for ADF help at housing towers

Broadcast by 3AW on 6 July 2020

Chief Commissioner Shane Patton says Victoria Police “have more than adequate resources” to patrol Melbourne’s public housing towers, but the police union says members are stretched and need help as the hard-line lockdown takes its toll on resources.

Police Association boss Wayne Gatt told Neil Mitchell there weren’t enough officers to patrol every level and the union wants the army sent in to help.

“We simply wouldn’t have the resources to do that (patrol every level),” he said on 3AW.

“The commitment to this far exceeds that which has been purported in the media, and this is why we’ve said ‘Come one, come all’.

“Oncoming crews this morning told me they had half of what they required to meet some of the requirements to complete today’s shifts.

“That’s where you go to get these police, they don’t just fall out of a magic police station that’s been sitting there waiting for COVID-19.”

But Chief Commissioner Shane Patton has this afternoon shot down suggestions the ADF should be brought in to assist.

He said Victoria Police had “adequate resources” to manage the situation.

“This is primarily a policing role and it’s important it is a policing role because of the community engagement activity,” he told 3AW Drive.

There are 500 Victoria Police officers patrolling the towers at all times.

Police are working in pairs to patrol two to three floors.

Mr Patton said one man, a 32-year-old at the Flemington towers, tried to leave this afternoon.

He assaulted police as he attempted to flee and is now facing charges.