Police reassure Loddon Shire

It has been a challenging time for all Loddon Shire communities. Victoria Police would like to reassure the public that it continues to provide 24/7 service although the service delivery in some areas has been modified in response to COVID-19. The following details will seek to address some areas of concern and show that Victoria Police’s priority of keeping the community safe has not changed;

Reception counters

  • Our counter service at police stations across the Loddon Shire have been impacted as we help minimise the spread of COVID-19.
  • Inglewood Police Station remains open for the public to access on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
  • Wedderburn Police Station remains open for the public to access on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
  • The reception at Boort, Pyramid Hill, Serpentine, Bridgewater & Tarnagulla Police Stations remain closed to the public however when the member is on duty an intercom is available for public communication. Signage is also in place to advise the community of police services.
  • These measures are in place as the safety of our employees and the community is our highest priority. Like the community, we are implementing social distancing measures to help prevent the spread this disease.
  • We encourage the public to consider the nature of any enquiry before attending a police station, further promoting Victorians to continue contacting the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 or using online reporting for non-urgent matters. In an emergency, contact Triple Zero (000).
  • This forms part of the changes we are making to our service delivery model to ensure we have more officers out on the road patrolling, stopping unnecessary face-to-face contacts and risk of transmission in line with the Chief Health Officer’s guidelines.

Family violence

  • In Victoria, police responded to 84,550 incidents of family violence to the year ending December 2019. That means that police are responding to 232 family violence incidents a day, or one incident every six minutes.
  • While we acknowledge that it is difficult and challenging time, there are no excuses for abusing a loved one. Victoria Police anticipates there could be a spike in family violence incidents reported to police and family violence services during this time due to heightened stress and uncertainty.
  • This can be influenced by the pressures and unease of the current climate, family members self-isolating and concerns about financial impacts.
  • Addressing and preventing family violence is always a priority for Victoria Police.

PBTs

  • The health and safety of the Victorian community, including every Victoria Police officer is our number one priority during this challenging period.
  • Victoria Police has not suspended Preliminary Breath Tests. We have redefined our service delivery model to ensure any COVID-19 risk and the advice of the Department of Health and Human Services has been considered fully. Police will be highly visible and mobile, with PBTs, to test drivers who choose to drink and drive. This increase in police visibility and mobility means we will be anywhere at any time continuing our commitment to reduce road trauma, keeping our road users and community safe. PBTs are only one method of enforcing our drink driving laws. If you choose to drink and drive or commit other offences, you will be caught.
  • Victoria Police wants to make it very clear that the exposure risk to coronavirus from a PBT machine is no different to going about your daily life in the community. Expert medical advice has been sought and Victoria Police has been reassured that it is safe for people to participate in a PBT. It is against the law for drivers to refuse a PBT on the basis that they suspect coronavirus could be contracted. New straws and gloves are used every time a PBT is conducted. The machine is also disinfected between use. If the driver is not confident this has taken place, they can ask the police officer to complete the steps in front of them again. If a person refuses to undergo a PBT, normal penalties apply. This includes your licence being cancelled for two years and maximum fine of nearly $2000.

Other Matters

  • “It’s my fault” was the excuse provided to police when a 23 year old male from Bundoora was caught speeding on the Loddon Valley Highway at Durham Ox on the 29/03/20. The male was detected driving 142km/h in a 100km/h zone before he was gifted a $702 fine and had his licence suspended for 6 months.
  • On the 01/04/20 a 35 year old male from Molendinar (QLD) was fined $454 and had his right to drive in Victoria suspended for 3 months after he was detected speeding at 127km/h in a 100km/h zone in Loddonvale. “I need to go to the farm” was the reason for his indiscretion.
  • Police would like to remind members of the public about the inherent dangers of driving through water on the road during periods of heavy rain. Emergency Services attended 2 jobs in Wedderburn in the early hours of the 4/4/20 that saw two cars stranded in flash flooding. Luckily there were no injuries to the persons involved.

  • Police would like to remind the public that any information on the above offending or any other matter can be passed on to local Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000