Victoria Police services impacted by deployment to coronavirus hotel quarantine, border

Published by ABC News on 24 January 2021

With up to 1,500 police officers deployed to assist in quarantine hotels and at the Victoria/New South Wales border, Victoria Police said its resources were being stretched and some services will have to be reduced.

The announcement comes as Victoria recorded one new coronavirus case in hotel quarantine, as the streak of local "zero days" continues.

Victoria Police is suspending or closing some operations at some stations, such as counters service, while officers are performing other services.

The police force could not say how many stations were being affected and suggested members of the public use the Police Assistance line where possible.

Wayne Gatt, the secretary of the Victoria Police Association, said "significant" numbers of officers had been moved to other duties and it was inevitable there would be an impact.

"We know, for example, members of highway patrols have been severely limited in their capacity to undertake business as usual," Mr Gatt said.

"We understand some of our crime scene and some of our crime investigation units have been reduced in their capacity to investigate crime."

He said the frontline officers left behind for general duties were, as a result, under significant pressure.

Having a front counter service to help members of the public at police stations was an important and essential role, Mr Gatt said.

"The community needs somewhere to go when they're in crisis," he said.

"Indeed many serious offences, many victims in need of support to police station counters all the time."

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said only front desk services were being restricted.

"Every police station is open and there to serve the community," she said.

"There's no change in that at all."