There are not enough extra police in the coalition’s election pledge but they’ve done more than Labor, the Victorian police union boss says.
The Napthine government on Sunday promised an extra 700 frontline police and 50 more protective services officers if the coalition is returned.
Premier Denis Napthine said officer numbers would be increased, and others freed up for frontline roles by using contractors to oversee police cells.
“The coalition understands the police force in this state, and delivers for the police force in this state,” Dr Napthine told reporters.
The policy includes 250 new officers and a returning 450, who would come off police cell management.
It comes two weeks after Labor pledged 400 new unsworn custody officers, hired by Victoria Police, to supervise lockups and free up frontline police.
Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said both parties had promised to free up officers on watchhouse duty but the coalition’s plan included some additional resources.
“We thank them for their commitment this time, even though it’s not enough,” Mr Iddles told AAP.
“We would have liked Labor to make a commitment, rather than no commitment.”
The coalition also promised 250 specialist positions to tackle e-crime, fraud, counter terrorism and forensics.
Mr Iddles said these skills were needed but shouldn’t come at the cost of uniformed police.
He said Victoria needed at least 1190 additional police, based on population growth.
“In future, police won’t be able to attend to every call,” Mr Iddles said.
Shadow attorney-general Martin Pakula said the government had copied Labor’s policy “with one key difference”.
“We think having custody officers employed by Victoria Police, and under the direction of the Chief Commissioner, is far preferable to having private security contractors inside our police stations,” Mr Pakula said on Sunday.
He also Labor would hold talks with police command about whether further officers were needed.
“We will not be getting into an auction about police numbers,” Mr Pakula said.